Figuring water usage
After 15 years of using only well water, we now have a place that has rural water. Not having ever paid a seperate water bill and never having had a way to measure our water usage before, I think, but am not sure that we're doing a good job keeping down consumption. (cost averages 22.00, with a high of 25.00) There is a good well on the property, all we have to do is rewire the pumphouse and close the public water supply off to use it, but should we?
I am trying to determine our gallons per day per person water usage which I think is figured as total consumption in gallons divided by number of days divided by number of people. Yes? Last month, we used 2970 gallons in 30 days, which is 99 gallons a day. There are four people here, (myself, DH and two teenagers), which would make our per person usage 24 and 3/4 of a gallon a day. I guess that's okay, but we also have 9 dogs, about 30 head of sheep and goats, 3 horses and assorted poultry that also mainly get their water through the meter and are counted on that bill too. I'm wondering if I should combine all of the animals as another "person", and divide our water usage by five, which would mean we're using 19.8 gallons of water per day "each". Counting the animals as a "person" isn't that far fetched: for example, we have one 150 gallon water trough just for the horses that's filled every other day. Add in the other animal's water needs and I think we have enough to cover the toilet flushing, handwashing and general cooking, cleaning and bathing needs of another human.
We don't water the grass, (that's God's job), but I did water my plants this past summer. Even if we don't activate the well I'd like to determine whether the savings we would get from something like a basic rainwater collection set up for watering vegetation and perhaps some of the livestock would be worth the cost. If I count the animals and design a water collection with the idea of fullfilling the majority of their needs along with some landscaping/irrigation, am I really looking at maybe a 10 to 20% savings during the spring and summer? We use grey water to irrigate the pecan orchard, which is why the bill doesn't fluctuate much in the summer. We do have a pond that the sheep get some of their water from, but it's on the lowest elevation of the farm, and installing a seperate pump to move that water uphill for the other animals would not be cost effective. If I'm going to pay to run a pump, it's going to be the well at the house. There's a good well on the property, all we have to do is rewire the pumphouse and close the public water supply off. Right now, there is no seperate plumbing from the well house that doesn't go through the main house first, so it's all or nothing. I'm not sure that the increased cost of electricity to run the pump is going to amount to any savings.
What do y'all think? Count the animals seperately or not? Anyone with experience on the costs of rural water versus private well? Sorry to be so long winded, but I wanted to give plenty of information so I could get some good suggestions and advice.