Sunday, March 8, 2009

Grey-Water Recycling

Who knew grey-water could be funny?

But, seriously. Let's take a look at perpetually drought-stricken California. A 2/27/09 San Francisco Chronicle article, ("Cities face 20% cuts in water use during crisis"), begins:

SAN FRANCISCO -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a statewide drought emergency Friday, urging cities to cut their use of water 20 percent and paving the way for projects such as desalination plants and water recycling projects to bypass standard environmental reviews.

Despite heavy rainstorms this month, state officials say California's water supply remains critically low because of three dry winters in a row, restrictions on water pumped from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and a population that has grown by 9 million since the last drought, in 1991.

In making the declaration, Schwarzenegger said the state must prepare for several more years with little rain. Experts predict this year's runoff - the critical spring melt from Sierra Nevada snow - will be 57 percent of normal.

"This drought is having a devastating impact on our people, our communities, our economy and our environment - making today's action absolutely necessary," Schwarzenegger said.

The governor's proclamation stopped short of invoking mandatory statewide rationing, but officials said that option - which would be a first in California history - is available if other tactics fail.

"No Californian can use water as though we have an unlimited amount, period," said Tim Quinn, executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies.

Water supply, water use, water conservation, desalination, grey-water recycling... all are topics we will visit and revisit here at Metro Green but, for now, let's just agree - with vast geographic regions (North-central Africa, Sudan, etc.) and population centers across the globe fighting to find, develop and make available a reliable supply of clean potable water, the final thought above (in italics) should probably, by now and for the future, be amended to read, "
"No PERSON can use water as though we have an unlimited amount, period."
Period, amen.


  1. Agree completely. The question is how can we make use of greywater in a decentralized fashion.

    If houses were built to direct water from the showers into a tank that would then flow through the toilets we would save 40% of all potable water.

    "In the U.S., approximately 40 percent of all domestic water consumed is flushed down the toilet. One person using an older 5.5 gallon flush toilet will use 13,000 gallons of fresh water per year to dispose of 165 gallons of body waste"

  2. Thanks for commenting, Seamus. A lively discussion of this topic vis a vis hotel chains requesting guests reuse towels rather than reflexively send them for laundering after a single use has erupted at Obsidian Wings, one of my very favorite (and among the best-written) of the blogoshpere's offerings. The thread, Of All The Things To Complain About, features a variety of green-conscious arguments and lots of the predictable cynicism and one-ups-manship one might expect on a widely-read political/social issues blog with open comments.

    Slightly off topic for this thread (but not for Metro Green in general) is Obsidian Wings' recent discussion and exploration of Cap and Trade policies and legislation. This very informative - if contentious - Obsidian Wings blog thread is posted under the heading Don't Give Away Carbon Permits.

    Discover Obsidian Wings. You'll be better - and better informed - for the exploration.

  3. I dont know what does mine metro green but its good idea

  4. Water IS a very precious resource and if we don't start stewarding it correctly now we will really pay for it later. I would encourage anyone who is interested in greywater recycling or simply wants to help make a difference to visit Water Harvest Online is a Rainwater and Greywater Harvesting Community where people can discuss methods and their vision of a more water conscious society.

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