LOVE IT, EVEN DURING DROUGHT: Bonnie and Kevin Palmer say moving their family to Ballandean was one of the best decisions they've ever made. Pictured here with children Archie and Bowen.
LOVE IT, EVEN DURING DROUGHT: Bonnie and Kevin Palmer say moving their family to Ballandean was one of the best decisions they've ever made. Pictured here with children Archie and Bowen. Bonnie Palmer

Could you live on 15L a day? Frugal family shares tips

DROUGHT hasn't deterred families from moving into the Southern Downs, according to one Ballandean couple who have successfully restricted their five-person family to a total of 150 litres of water per day.

Though restrictions have posed a new challenge for the former Gold Coast family, Bonnie Palmer says she wouldn't have it any other way.

"It's been amazing and we love our life out here," she said.

"The people, the town and the community are very caring and it's just so nice compared with where we used to live."

But Mrs Palmer admits, the family chose a challenging time to relocate.

 

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WATER WISE: Bonnie Palmer is teaching her children to save every drop.

Within two days of handing in her resignation, she realised she was pregnant and the region she'd be moving to was in the grips of drought.

"When we came the drought had just started and that was probably the worst time for us," she said.

"My husband took a while to find a job and he's always been able to straight away in the past.

"I found it just impossible."

Employment troubles came and went, but conserving water was never an issue.

Both Mrs Palmer and her husband Kevin spent time in Indonesia as children and had learned the importance of saving every single drop.

"My husband was there a long time and he's seen what happens when you don't have a water supply you can live off," she said.

"It was a very different life there.

"When you see children bathing in rubbish filled streams, with faeces and dead animals, you do really become humble and realise how lucky you are."

Mrs Palmer says she's trying to instil those same values in her three children by employing a number of clever tricks around the house.

The couple have stopped having their morning showers and when they do, they limit their time to just 50 seconds each.

While they shower, the children have a "shower bath" in a big bucket beneath them.

The toilet has been turned off, to avoid a flush-happy one year old from using it too frequently, and when the family does flush they use the recycled water from the shower baths.

Dishwashing is done just once a day, clothes are worn at least twice and house cleaning uses a fraction of the water Mrs Palmer allowed herself on the Gold Coast.

"Everything is time consuming, obviously, but it isn't difficult and we'd rather save as much as possible than purchase 100 loads of water," Mrs Palmer said.

"But the person who is really impressive is my mum.

"She only uses 15 litres per day."

Jan Southall lives off-the-grid in Stanthorpe, where she has limited herself to one 15L bucket of water each day and only washes her clothes at the town laundromat once a fortnight.

"She literally goes to the toilet camping style," Mrs Palmer said.

"And when she has a shower she goes 'mandi' style by pouring a bucket of 10cm of water over herself.

"She's very diligent."