Regina's Jim Elliott completely off city water grid

Regina's Jim Elliott has managed to get completely off the City of Regina's water by collecting rainwater for all of his non-potable water needs.

Taking water conservation to the next level

Jim Elliott collects rainwater from his roof in Regina to use year round for all his non-potable water needs. (Nichole Huck/CBC)

Regina's Jim Elliott leaves a very small ecological footprint.

The 61-year-old bikes year round, he is careful about what he buys and only fills his recycling bin about once a year. He composts all of his food waste and never leaves home without a reusable cloth bag. However, his most radical environmental act has to do with water. 

Over the last decade Elliott has managed to get completely off the Regina water system.

"It started principally because I had problems in the basement with freezing pipes and that sort of thing," Elliott explained "and I decided to just shut the pipes off completely."

The process of getting off city water started with Elliott taking stock of his water needs. He decided to just buy his potable water from the store which ends up being about a 20 litres every week. 

Elliott has about eight to 10 plastic containers filled with rainwater at any given time. (Nichole Huck/CBC)
The rest of his water comes from rainwater he harvests during the spring and summer off the roof of his house.

He put on a metal roof, got some bigger eavestroughs, and funnels all of his water into a rain barrel which he then transfers into plastic tubs so he can store the water inside during the winter. 

"It's fairly clean to start with but if I have to I'll run it through a filter before using it," said Elliott. 

At any given time, Elliott has about eight to 10 tubs filled with water which gives him access to about 700 to 800 litres. He installed a low-flow toilet and keeps a bucket of water nearby to flush it when required. 

Elliott admits it's easier for him to conserve water than most households in Regina because he only has to worry about one person, but he offers a few simple tips for other folks looking to reduce their water consumption:

  • Minimize the number of plants outside your home that require water. 
  • Install low-flow shower heads and low-flush toilet.
  • Reuse water.  He suggests reusing water that you've boiled potatoes in for making your next batch of soup.