Innovations That Matter

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Low cost grey water recycling

Property & Construction

Australian invention recycles grey water at a low cost.

Garden watering bans are a fact of life these days, and not just in dry climates like much of Australia and the Western US. But a new Australian invention can keep lawns and gardens green without using any extra household water. The Water-Leech, which retails for AUD 200 and up is a breadbox-sized device with a universal hose attachment that hooks up to shower or sink drains. Instead of letting grey water escape down the drain, a pump in the unit draws it into a self-contained storage tank. The pump is powered by a rechargeable battery instead of a wall plug to prevent any possibility of electric shock while it’s in operation. When the Water-Leech tank is full, owners simply wheel the unit outside to water their plants. (Providing biodegradable soaps and detergents are used, water from showers, baths, laundry, sinks and dishwashers is completely reusable.) Water-Leech inventor Paul O’Callaghan believes his product fills a vital need at a time when environmental experts point with alarm at fast diminishing global water supplies. Though attractively styled and relatively compact, the Water-Leech still might seem a cumbersome way to reclaim water. But competing systems used to collect grey water must be retrofitted into a home’s plumbing, a task which can cost thousands of dollars. And even in areas without restrictions, the unit’s ability to reuse water can help it pay for itself. O’Callaghan says the average households can conserve 35,000 liters annually, which adds up to a nice way to keep gardens green and help conserve precious drinking water. Thanks to his product’s success in Australia, his company is building out a worldwide network, which spells opportunities for potential distributors outside Australia. Update: We’ve received various alarming messages from people who paid for a Water Leech but haven’t received the product. While we still think the Water Leech is a great idea, we would advise you not to order one online. Please also see the comments below.



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