A non-partisan, neutral perspective supporting diversity in the color of water

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Perry, Prayer and Greywater

Well, it's official. Texas Governor Rick Perry has entered the race for the Republican nomination for  president. Governor Perry is famous for his use of prayer to change the dire water situation in Texas, even though it is one of the *graywater* states in the US. Aquadoc chronicled the use of prayer to resolve the water woes of Texas and Georgia, but New York Times columnist Tim Egan updates the prayer situation where he opines *In the four months since Rick Perry’s request for divine intervention, his state has taken a dramatic turn for the worse*.

Is heaven listening to Rick Perry? asks Texas journalist Richard Parker in his op-ed piece in the New York Times.

What could be worse? Reusing treated wastewater for drinking water in Texas!

But is there a precedent set somewhere in the world where prayer and water yield greywater for reuse? South African water reuse professionals Water Rhapsody ran a great series on Holy Water and Religion here. A quick summary of this excellent series of postings for Islam reveals the following:

*In Islam ritual purity (called tahara) is required before carrying out religious duties especially salat (worship). There are three kinds of ablutions.  Firstly, ghusl, the major ablution, is the washing of the whole body in pure water, after declaring the intention to do so. The second ablution is wudu, the minor ablution, which is performed to remove minor ritual impurity from everyday life. The third type of ablution is performed when no water is available.  In this case clean sand may be used.*

But this water is not *wasted* after ablution. Yemen started a program in 2006 to water traditional gardens using Mosque greywater as described here and in a report by the World Bank here. Qatar also is participating in the practice of using Mosque greywater for irrigation, too.

Governor Perry should update his approach to the Texas water situation. Instead of praying for rain, he should pray that Texans integrate greywater and wastewater reuse into their communities. One of his competitors has already done so.  

With all the rationale discourse on *no new taxes* will the US water systems and taxpayers stand a prayer of a chance to get working again to dig out of the hole for the cost of new water infrastructure estimated at $334 billion in addition to increased water bills without some sort of *plan* by the Republican contenders?

* * *
So I think we have a few options as we go forward:

1. Reintroducing market mechanisms into water pricing. Governments cannot continue to subsidize water as they have in ways that produce tremendous equilibrium in terms of how water is priced.

2. Alternative forms of water generation. It may seem strange to talk about water generation but that’s essentially what we are talking about when we discuss the future of reuse, desalination, and other kinds of technical technologies that no doubt we are going to be talking about in the years to come.

3. Good old conservation. What more we can do in terms of water conservation. And we very much want to look to many of you for ideas in how we can deal with some of the ideas surrounding water conservation.
~ Former Utah Governor
and contender for the Republican nomination for president
Jon Huntsman, Jr.  
at Friends of Alta Water Symposium Alta, Utah August 20, 2008

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