I've heard much talk regarding the devastating
possibilities of a water shortage. In drought years, we lose crops, wildlife, forests...even our homes and lives. In this article, I look at how all our perceptions of drought are based on our own misguided approaches to stewarding the land. I will also share ideas that can help reduce this potential harm. To make the changes necessary, we need to recognize how seriously wasteful we are in our use of water.
are so removed from the intimate relationship that life on this planet
has with water, that we are increasingly inefficient in its use.
Approximately 25% of the water used in the U.S. is used for garden irrigation.
In the summer, the amount
of water used outdoors by a household can exceed the
amount used for all other purposes in the entire year. Many people
believe that beautiful gardens and lawns require extensive watering,
fertilization and pesticide application. As a
landscaper for 30 years, I recognize that a beautiful garden can be had
using as little as 4% of what we use today, while reducing pollu- tion,
and protecting the environment. By installing drought tolerant gardens, 90% of this water could be saved for more personal needs.
In our homes, we dump the valuable water from the sink, shower, washing machine, dishwasher, and the toilet. Using grey-water systems, we can
send the water from the sink, the shower, and the laundry to the garden. This could cut our water consumption by as much as 75%! Additionally, an average of 25% of the water used in the house goes to toilet flushing. This wasteful approach can be replaced with some age-old technologies, while saving big money and better stewarding our environment.
Today's sewer systems overflow, causing beach closures, the spread of
illness and other environmental contamination, even in
places that actually have sewage treatment. Fortunately, we don't need costly sewage plants or septic systems to
render human waste into a harmless substance that, instead of being a
problem, is a solution to problems of water shortages, water pollution,
and reliance on chemical fertilizers. Instead
of wasting precious resources, we can
make rich humus and fertilizer from feces and urine!
Composting and dry toilets use natural processes to turn human excreta into a valuable soil amendment. They typically use little to no water. Collecting
urine is a key step in recycling human nutrients. Urine contains
most of the nitro- gen, phosphorus and potassium we release. These
nutrients are the major components of chemical fertilizers, and urine is
an amazing plant fertilizer!
Rainwater Catchment Systems
*Rainwater systems provide a source of water where needed.
*The systems are owner operated and managed.
*They provide an essential reserve in
times of emergency and/or breakdown of public water supply systems.
*They are built to meet any requirements. Poor house- holds start with a small tank and add when affordable.
*They improve the engineering of
building foundations, when cisterns are built as part of the substructure.
*Rainwater may be superior to groundwater or surface waters,
that have been subjected to pollution.
*Construction and maintenance are not labor-intensive.
There are approximately 16,000 courses in the United States —
about half the total in all the world. The
average American course uses 312,000 gallons per day. In
Palm Springs, where 57 golf courses challenge the desert, each course requires a million gallons a day! That is, each course, each day in Palm
Springs, consumes as much water as an American family of 4 uses in 4 years!
If golf course water came from recycled water sources, Americans could reclaim enough water to serve 55.5 million Americans! If you add in the water saved through the previous suggestions, 277.3 million Americans would be served! Water is definitely not in short supply. It's how we use it.
The Big Picture....
A Catalyst For Change
The possibility of drought brings people together. An article in Scientific American states "Human beings are fundamentally social
animals and it is the protective nature of our social relationships that
has allowed our species to thrive. Decades of research shows that social connection is a fundamental human
need linked to both psychological and physical health, including a
stronger immune system, faster recovery from disease, and even longevity".
The balance of our planets' air, water, and
soil has been trashed. Fortunately, we are returning to being the stewards of our planet. As we align in this focus, greater creativity is being released. As
we move seemingly closer to the "precipice" of environmental
destruction. we are stepping out of our fear and isolation, into Love.
The call to return to our Oneness has never been louder and our aligning
in Oneness has never been faster.
We Are Realizing Our Dreams
the "big picture", our bodies (even this planet) are transitory. This
will all cease to be. The fact that we are One in Consciousness is eternal. I believe that we are here to return to that awareness. We have chosen to use this "play field" of Earth to come Home. Welcome Home.