Water conservation in your RV is very important if you are going to enjoy boondocking.
One thing that will detract from your enjoyment of the wilderness is running out of water, especially when the nearest supply is far away.
The camping location in the photo is perfect, except that the nearest source of drinking water is 25 miles down the mountain. Many novice RV users are dismayed to find out that their water only lasts two or three days because they're using it like they did at home. As with many things RV, there are numerous tricks to making your water last longer so you can spend more time enjoying your chosen location, and less time driving back and forth for water and dumping.
What we do is employ several strategies to get the washing of dishes and people done with minimal water use.
The first and most important rule is, never run water down the drain.
Water Conservation in Your RV Tip #1
Don't warm up the water by running it until the water is hot enough to use – catch the water that comes out and heat it on the stove, and THEN use it. (Update: or have a TRUMA instant water heater in your RV).
Don't run water to rinse small dishes and utensils – use a container to dip them in. Get a container that fits into your sink with a wide, flat bottom for use as a washbasin. Use this basin for soapy dishwater, rinse water, and other things. I found the perfect one by accident- it's a dog bowl.
This bowl is perfect. It's stainless steel, so you can heat water in it directly on the propane burner instead of using a pot and pouring the hot water into the basin.
Water Conservation in Your RV Tip #2
The second strategy – make sure the regular dishwasher is the one who's good at saving water. Sharon washed the dishes once and used about half a tank to wash two plates, two cups, and some silverware. She has been relieved of duty, and no matter how much she begs, I'm not going to let her wash the dishes. You've got to get up pretty early in the morning to pull a fast one on me, and… hey, wait a minute…
Here's how I wash dishes – heat your water on the stove in your washbasin, put just enough soap in there to make it sudsy. Too much soap means extra rinsing. Wash the utensils, dishes, and pots/pans, letting them drain in the sink next to the washbasin as you do the big items that won't fit in the basin. The better they drain the less water you need to rinse them.
Pitch the wash water, get some rinse water in the basin, and dip the small items in it before putting them on the drying rack. Only the big items that won't fit in the basin get a trickle of water over them from the faucet. You should be able to wash up dishes for a meal for two in about a gallon of water.
Water Conservation in Your RV Tip #3
Shampooing is another task where a lot of water goes down the drain needlessly if you're not careful. Sharon has her hair done by the famous stylist Mr. Campskunk, who cancels all his other clients when she's in town and needs a shampoo and set in a hurry.
We use a big plastic basin since all we're doing is catching the water to throw out, not washing anything in it. About a pint of hot water to wet your hair, then lather up over the basin until you're ready to rinse. I pour a steady stream on the scalp starting at the back of the neck and working forward until it's all rinsed – maybe a gallon to a gallon and a half total. This is a two-person operation, so put your lazy significant other to work and save water.