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

Saturday, June 12, 2010

(Grey)Water - (Don't)Use it Wisely

This article in the Arizona Republic reports that Mesa, Arizona, one of the sponsors of the award-winning Water - Use it Wisely ad campaign and located in one of the most water stressed areas in the US has come out with a new campaign to convince their wealthy residents on how to save water.

"Instead of requiring rainwater harvesting and plumbing to accommodate 'gray-water' irrigation, Mesa will continue to focus on public education and encouraging voluntary projects".

Why this approach in a water scarce region with no apparent shortage of financial resources?

Several issues arose regarding gray-water systems. Among them:

Kathryn Sorensen, Mesa's water resources director, said if a great number of homes began diverting gray water, that could affect Mesa's ability to fulfill its contracts for delivering reclaimed water.

• Bouchie (directs many of Mesa's environmental programs) and DiFrancesco (a water conservation specialist for the city) said gray-water systems can create health and safety hazards if not properly installed.

Diverting too much water from the sewer system could cause problems because water is needed to flush solids through the lines.

This smokescreen sounds painfully familiar to the situation described in this previous posting on the Rainbow Water Coalition Protecting the Public, Protecting the Profit, or Profiting from Power?

It sounds like Arizona should be announcing a powerhouse eco-couple to spread the word on voluntary projects since the state recently cut their water resources regulatory staff to the barebone according to Watering the Desert.

But who could fit into the short list of Arizona powerhouse eco-couples?

No week would be complete without a Greywater Gadget of the Week and one of the more interesting gadgets found on the web is Ecoplay, now helping the UK with water shortages since it is the third most water-stressed country in Europe according to Waterwise as summarized in this article:

"Ecoplay helps to reduce water usage in the home by up to a third, by recycling bath and shower water and using it to flush the toilet. This low-maintenance system involves a skimmer to remove light surface debris, such as foam hair and soap, whilst heaver particles sink and are flushed away to waste. Treated greywater is transferred into a storage tank ready for reuse. The Ecoplay system can hold up to 100 litres, which is capable of providing approximately 15 toilet flushes".

It appears that Smart Growth and wise use of water do not peacefully coexist in Arizona.

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