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Forced reductions in water consumption

 
pollinator
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From; Storm water Solutions

Arizona must reduce water consumption by 18%, Nevada by 7% of the state’s annual apportionment and Mexico by 5%.



 
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I read the article ... is this a site only an engineer could love? I believe water access (problems) will become huge ... perhaps only seawater desalination or weather control will fix?

We do practice water conservation in a big way, because we are off-grid in a water-short western state (with weird water laws), and in an area where drilling a water well is problematic (gas and oil industry, state caters to them over us), and where we are looking to never again pay those ridiculous and ever-rising water/wastewater bills. Our water supply is essentially a mountainous, snow-fed lake.

This is better water than I can get out of our water-well, which produces high-quality sulphur water for us (thanks, oil and gas industry). And yes, water wells in our county do catch fire ... had such a fire dept call last week.

We initially used about 250 gallons of water per month, and paid .04 cents/gallon, and we hauled/stored this ourselves, for years. I stupidly put in a washing machine, hooked the house up to the shed's water storage tank, and did other crazy stuff, such that we're now up to almost 500 gallons/month, but still paying .04 cents/gallon (and still hauling it ourselves (now we have a 500-gallon "water trailer", part of water/fire protection).

No wastewater fees in our rural location (septic system, greywater, humanure, etc.), but when in the city many years past, we used to have water/ww bills for 2k or more gallons of water consumption, and were charged the same amount for ww (whether it went into the garden or not), and all kinds of fees crept in to the bill. Good to be beyond such madness, for now ...

Water ... can't live w/o it, and it's getting harder to come by ...
 
John C Daley
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I think you are correct in assuming its a site an Engineer would love.
Storm water is now being considered an asset in some places as we learn to use it rather than dump it in the nearest river and cause flooding.

A lot of flooding around the world is caused by people cleaning up rivers and streams.
Back to water though, it is considered to be the new area of conflict between communities.
Dam building cuts off supplies downstream.
Its ripe for conflict with population growth forcing countries to grab as much water as they can.
 
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John C Daley wrote:I think you are correct in assuming its a site an Engineer would love.
Storm water is now being considered an asset in some places as we learn to use it rather than dump it in the nearest river and cause flooding.



In Arizona, the city of Mesa has shown some intelligence here. The suburban neighborhoods at higher elevations are sprinkled with holding basins of an acre or two, maybe 15-25 feet deep at the max. The streets and storm drains empty into these. They have overflows but no outlets, typically they fill to half in heavy summer rain. From there, they simply drain slowly into the ground. The basins are grassy and used for sports fields or whatever the rest of the time, and are nicely planted with tall eucalypts. It's extensive too, I have no idea how many basins there are but it must be many hundreds. Seems like a pretty low maintenance program too.

We get avg 7" rain here but that falls mostly in a few heavy storms. These basins control the flood and preserve it.
 
John C Daley
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That sounds fantastic, almost Civil Engineering porn!
But Eucalypt trees are highly inflammable, as much as I like them, they are dangerous.
[ I live on a farm in a Eucalypt forest]
Some details of water retension sysatems
 
John C Daley
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LID [ low impact development
"What is LID?
In essence, LID is a time machine. Before the exponential growth in pavement, concrete, and other impervious surfaces,
rainfall infiltrated the ground where it fell and excess water drained into natural channels. LID attempts to
return to this state of affairs as much as possible . According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), LID is a land development approach that works
with nature to manage stormwater in accordance with simple principles.
Low Impact Development [ LID] Principles
 Keep water close to the source
 Preserve landscape features
 Minimize imperviousness
 Create functional, appealing site drainage
 Treat stormwater as a resource rather than waste
 Reduce impact of built areas
 Promote natural movement of water
 Protect ecologic and hydrologic functionality
 Encourage sustainable stormwater practices"
In my opinion the word, 'sustainable' is one of the most wasted and useless words available to the community.
BUT in this case its ok.
The storm water system will be sustainable if it reduces or eliminates flooding, helps to refresh the ground water reserves and does not need continua maintenance.

case study of Low IMpact DEvelopment
 
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This has been coming down the pipe for a long time!
Rufus Langgren wrote about it 6 years ago, focusing on California: https://permies.com/t/45830/California
Bryant Redhawk wrote about it 4 years ago:  https://permies.com/t/64725/incredible-shrinking-water-supply-USA

But so far, too many communities have carried on as usual, rather than tackling the problem with innovative ideas and public encouragement.
I'm in an area of summer drought, but too much winter water. They keep building more and more housing, on smaller and smaller lots and trusting that the main reservoir will cope with only minimal water conservation policies and bans on washing cars and watering lawns.

There is so much more that permaculture can do in this climate. We get some, but little freezing weather. How about insisting that most sideroads and driveways be "track roads" - don't know a better name, but my Grandfather had this where he had concrete pavers just where the wheels of his car went, and mixed low forbs and grass for the rest of the driveway.

Many houses are being built with relatively low sloped roofs - how many of them could easily have been mandated as green roofs? Yes, some water would have to be used to water the roof, but what a reasonable use for grey water? The green roof would help with cooling in hot weather as well.

How many new subdivisions could be designed so that single direction traffic would be practical? The hardscape that roads represent could be cut in half, and the costs reduced at the same time - better yet, have garages separate at the entrance to small housing groups and everyone has to walk from there! Turn what would have been road into allotment gardens to improve food security and shorten food miles.

Yes, there are some impressive "engineering porn" that can help to solve this problem, but there is also plenty that can be done with innovative social changes.
 
John C Daley
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Somehow the community has to get on board and demand action.
But in my experience nobody is interested.
In my case after 50 years of being an advocate for waste reduction, recycling, water conservation, better use of energy etc etc, I have decided to stop.
I became tired of explaining the bleeding obvious to the masses.
When I announced I had given up and I dont care anymore, many were not happy.
But I explained its a thankless task and I am over it let the public drown in their waste and ignorance.

 
steward
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I like what Jay has offered.

I would like to say that I am of the opinion that this is more readily solved on a personal level.

It is what we can do.

Jay said, "There is so much more that permaculture can do in this climate.



This!

I don't want to rely on the government to make this happen or even a state.
 
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If you have restrictive laws about rain water collection and diversion take proactive action.  Governing bureaucracy means no one will take responsibility unless they have to and get paid for it.  Find the lonely hated one responsible for approving site drainage and submit a plan that explains what will happen without the plan and how it will be better with the plan. In my case the lady came out to designate the boundary of the  one foot flood plain. She was so pleased with my water management plan that she noted that agricultural practices could continue in the flood plain; which is not often easy to get permitted. Of course another bureaucrat required a survey company prove that the building site 20 feet above the one foot flood plain would not be flooded in a storm event.  
Contrast between my water managed parcel and three neighboring parcels on the public road. No water floods from the drainage ditch onto the road in front of  mine. No trees fall across the road from the mandatory vegetation buffer along the road on my side.  The grass on my parcel can still feed an animal summer and winter.   The 20 acres across from me is not managed for water or rotational grazing therefor dries out and can not support the cows on it in the summer and becomes trampled mud in the winter.  Not a well thought out stacking of functions they decided to use the field for mud racing in the winter which meant that the mud drained into the salmon spawning stream.  Bureaucrats to he rescue.  I don't think they figured out who reported them.
 
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