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Creative Conservation


April 1, 2012 by csukach

By Chris Sukach

Water usage is currently restricted to internal household use for the 28 properties that comprise the Overlook Mutual Water Company in El Paso County, Colo.

How Much Water is Your Home Wasting Infographic, by

How Much Water is Your Home Wasting Infographic, by (Click to view larger)

The 28 property owners in the arid neighborhood that’s about 7000 feet above sea level are also shareholders in a small water source that feeds all the properties.

While restrictions by a collective on what one cannot do on his or her own property, like watering outdoor gardens with a sprinkler, may be a cause for consternation in a community, most of the members of the Overlook Mutual Water Company understand its necessity.

“It ties us together,” said Mary Kovacevic, shareholder and water conserver.  “It’s a finite resource up here,” she says referencing the 178 gallons each property is allowed to use in a 24-hour period.

Kovacevic is highly aware of both the water coming into her house and that is leaving it.  In fact, she uses the water from her sink after washing dishes to water her lilac bushes.

“I built a trough so the water flows down to the plants,” Kovacevic says, discussing the rock-lined channel that runs from her kitchen door to her lilacs.  “That’s the sink water, just from the dishes,” she says mentioning her method for reusing grey water.

She attributes her blooming lilacs to the dishwater.

“Those things haven’t bloomed in four years because I wasn’t watering them,” Kovacevic explains, referencing the outdoor water restrictions.

Kovacevic is constantly looking for ways to conserve water daily.  In addition to repurposing her dishwater, she also saves the water after washing her face and hands.

“Just keep the stopper up,” Kovacevic shares.  “Think about how many times a day you wash your hands.”

That saved water from hand washing goes to the lilacs as well.

“Don’t let it go,” she says, emphasizing the importance of conscious water usage.


  1. Katie says:

    Bravo!! I love the rainwater harvesting done in your neck of the woods…. If you could do a piece (or at least some basic info and pics) on that I would love to share the innovative ideas with my part of the world!

  2. csukach says:

    Sure! Technically, the spring feeding the Colony is groundwater (I think), but I’ll contact you and find out exactly what you’re looking for & we’ll grab some pics & write one up!

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