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

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Greywater Part of "Blue Gold"

No, greywater did not get a mention in the movie Blue Gold World Water Wars, but it did receive a surprising mention in a state that does not have a graywater management program, Illinois.  The Illinois newspaper, Galena Gazette, ran this article on how the Rotary Club sponsored the 25th annual Jo Daviess County Roundtable titled "Blue Gold. . . Water our #1 Liquid Asset".

Throughout the day, the 100 or so individuals who participated heard from speakers who addressed sources of potable water, threats to the water supply, impacts of the threats, strategies and enforcement from the environmental protection standpoint and the current state of water management and research.  

Wow, that is an impressive number of folks attending a full day event on the boring subject of water! The research institute that I work for convened comparable water roundtable events across Oregon during 2008 and we never had a turnout this large.

Here is a summary of the three breakout sessions:

Issue: What environmental laws and regulations are needed to protect the water supply? What are some enforcement strategies that could be executed?  What mitigation strategies should be implemented in the tri-state area? Who should it be done by?

Outcome:
Change plumbing regulations pertaining to greywater
• Explore possible benefits of recharge areas and overlay zoning
• Evaluate the Livestock Management Facilities Act for updates
• Countrywide watershed protection program
• De-icing agent applicator training
• More dialogue between agricultural communities in Jo Daviess County

Issue: What are some water conservation strategies for home, industry, and agriculture?  What are some water distribution/sharing strategies for the future?

Outcome:
• Alternate non-potable applications
• New school construction (awareness)
• Carry Your Own Water Day (carry water from outside into household)
• Communities share water-saving equipment
• Local water management
• Create awareness regionally

Issue: What recommendations, additions or changes to K-12 and higher education can be done to educate future generations about water?  What should be the focus of water supply-related research and planning?

Outcome:
• Link students to community groups
• Teacher training on local and global issues
• Require environmental science course in high school

What makes the proposed outcomes interesting from a greywater perspective is that Illinois apparently does not have a greywater program. Some argue the Water Use Act of 1986 provided the groundwork for greywater reuse in Illinois. Yet others argue the municipal and state codes hinder greywater reuse.

It sounds like the Blue Gold event may cause the greywater reuse issue to be revisited soon, so the Sovereign State may ultimately lead to National (Greywater) Unity.
* * *
Let's put aside the politics and trust the people. Let's embrace the unique opportunity we all have; take the heat and make the hard and difficult decisions, knowing that we're doing it to make things better for the people of Illinois.
~ Former Governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich

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