I’ve come to enjoy washing small amounts of dishes by hand because the window over the sink affords lovely views of the flora and fauna on our back deck. I also enjoy pondering issues. So while standing there over the weekend, I considered ways to reduce our water consumption by 25 percent.

I remembered our good friend, Geno, who spent 13 seasons as the Tahquitz Peak lookout. Geno became an expert up there at water conservation. I rang him and he came over to the office this week to chat with me.

When he started in 1974, two pack horses came up every week with supplies, including 20 gallons of water. Geno accepted that but after about three years, he started improving his lifestyle.

For exercise, he would hike downhill in the mornings to  Last Water Spring in Little Tahquitz Valley, collecting 6 gallons of water and hiking back uphill.

He built a solar water heater on the lookout roof for a shower. He took Navy showers — getting wet, turning off the water, using very little soap and then rinsing. Small clothing — socks and underwear — also got washed during his showers.

He could take a very nice shower with only 1-1/2 gallons of water.

He built an outhouse and a sink with a 5-gallon jug of water above it with a hose and a little faucet attached. Water was more precious than anything to survive. He hoarded it and was careful about every little drop, not sharing with hikers except in emergencies.

Does he still practice conservation in civilization? He does. He still takes Navy showers and catches water in a bucket to wash his clothes. I’m curious about what things you might be doing to conserve water?

Becky Clark,