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Thread: Our world water supply is limited...

  1. #21
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkytoe View Post
    I could be wrong but when the old men pass away, so will lawn watering. I think it's a generational thing.
    Not if you go by the development our kids ilve in...
    If Americans expended even a fraction of the energy on civic engagement that we spend on consumer ideology, our democracy would be much healthier. Can you imagine people camping out to vote? -- Charles Roberts, Amherst, Mass., Nov. 25, 2006

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by razz View Post
    I have always been distressed that we use our precious water to remove our human fecal waste. ...
    I agree. Many years ago in college I did a paper on the Clivus Multrum, a composting toilet. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clivus_Multrum

    I've often wondered why they never really took off.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rogar View Post
    Undeniably true, however the aquifers that have been depleted for years to farm land out here in the arid west and other parts of the world may take centuries to refresh. Sort of a a complication to the evaporation cycle.

    I think the climate scientists agree that the west will having increasing periods of drought and the people and farmers are going to have to adapt.
    Agree - even as politicians in D. C. are still denying climate change the farmers, especially here in the SW, are begging the universities and government agencies for help in trying to manage what's already happening. However if Lake Mead water levels drop below a certain level, a level to which they're very close right now, agriculture will take the first hit. Even now, years into a drought situation, residential water use is not restricted in AZ and any conservation is voluntary.

    Given all of this I'm very doubtful that my grandchild/future other grandchildren will be able to live in Phoenix as we know it today. So, I'm thinking that it's more likely a migration to areas with water will be happening sooner than we all think.

  4. #24
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    I think Phoenix and etc are carbuncles on the face of Mother Earth, “climate Change” or no. The water resources used by those huge desert communities were in jeopardy before all things were blamed on warming patterns.

  5. #25
    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baldilocks View Post
    With all our technology, I'm surprised we don't transport water from the flooding areas to the drought area's. I'm sure I'm oversimplifying it but I would think it could be done. During war how do we get water to our troops?
    To some extent this already happens. California's central valley wouldn't be the fruit and nut bowl of the country without the extensive system in place to move water from wetter northern CA down south to the farmers.

    Another "fun fact" about california water usage, I was reading statistics a while back that found that per capita Palm Springs uses an order magnitude more water than San Francisco. Because golf courses and swimming pools...

  6. #26
    Senior Member Rogar's Avatar
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    I remember stepping the golf course at the Biltmore in Pheonix and sinking into a lush soggy landscape (I don't play golf), and then there are the big fountains in Vegas. There are some huge wastes out of place in the American desert. I understand some areas in drought prone areas in the SW are banning traditional lawns in new developments.

    We had a recent proposal to expand one of our local reservoirs size, which would flood an area with a cottonwood canopy of riparian habitat that has been the home to many bird species and a popular spot for birders. I wrote a response during the comment period of the environmental impact statement saying the long term solution to a growing population is not more water storage, but conservation that avoids waste and encourage alternate yard landscapes. I don't know how far something like that goes, but here there are only smatterings of xeriscaping.

    Dams and reservoirs have been a major solution to water use in the arid west, but many of these come at some cost to the native environment. In some cases like the one I mentioned, it's a loss of habitat. In others the native fish are displaced and others a scare on the environment. Lake Powell is a classic example and the subject of Edward Abbey's Monkey Wrench Gang, where they concoct a plan to take out the dam. The sandstone strata soaks up water, there is a significant evaporation loss, and it is gradually being silted in. There is what they call a bathtub ring around the reservoir rock marking the high water marks that will be there for centuries. Powell is not far along the Colorado River from the Grand Canyon, which is one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

    Lake Powell is a huge recreation destination and I suspect some day in the distant future they will be able to scavenge the bottom for discarded beer containers and flip flops.

    It's not just that some places may actually run completely out of water in severe droughts, but that there is a lot of waste and poor solutions.
    Last edited by Rogar; 3-22-18 at 6:44pm.

  7. #27
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    more people here are xero-scaping. When we bought our house the yard was dirt so we used good quality astro-turf. We have dogs and they need something soft to run and play on) I think our new developments should be prevented from having lawns. We have been in a drought for most of the last 30 years. At our other house we had a small patch of grass and you couldn't keep it alive watering twice/week which is allowed. Of course people just ignore the rules. When I moved here it was weird because I was used to the Midwest where it rained and no one waters. I also take short showers.

  8. #28
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    As a southern African, I’m very familiar with the problems that come with the horrible fact that some areas simply do not have enough water for the population - especially when said population is wasteful. This is without even thinking about drought, just under normal conditions.

    I lived for many years with very tight water supplies. For about four years, I made do with one drum (167 litres/44 US gallons) of drinking water and one of river water per week. This was for 2 adults and 2 small children. It had to cover everything and it had to last - there’d be no refills to the following Friday!

    I also lived for 6 years on a small holding where 1000 litres/264 gallons of borehole water had to serve 4 adults, 3 children, 2 cows and their calves, 6 sheep and their young, 3 pigs and their young, 30 chickens, 3 dogs and2 cats. I supplemented this with rain tanks on every roof. There was never any water to waste; every cupful was budgeted in advance.

    Showers? Kidding me? We had daily bird baths, and shared bath water twice a week. Kids first, then me, then ex-husband. Some of the bath water went to mopping floors, the rest was the wash water for laundry. Minimum soap so only one rinse was needed. Rinse water becomes wash water for next laundry load if not a bath night. I had a twin-tub machine at the end of the tub so it was easy to scoop the water into it. Oh, and we wore clothes for more than one day! We had clean underwear and socks daily, of course.

    Tooth-brushing: small mug of water, measured beforehand. Apply paste to dry brush, apply to teeth. Pour a little of the water over the brush to rinse it, use the rest to rinse the mouth.
    Hands: quick splat to wet skin. Rub hands over bar of soap. Rub hands together. Rinse hands in previously poured mugful of water.

    Dishes were hand washed in one bowl of water, rinsed in another. The rinse water became the wash water for the next load of dishes. Of course, the dishes should be prepped before washing! Tip out all liquids. Scrape plates with a rubber scraper. Wipe out frying pans with crumpled paper and wood ash to remove grease - this paper was great for lighting the fire that heated the household water supply. Cook a lot of one-pot meals.

    All bath, dish, and laundry water went into the vegetable garden.

    Nobody died, we very seldom got sick, and never from food poisoning at home - ironically, the time we did get food poisoning, it was from a restaurant meal.

    I maintain many of these habits now that I live in San Francisco. I still wash my dishes in bowls and carry the water to the garden. The rinse water is also used for surface cleaning - and that goes into the garden. The plants thrive on it and slugs and snails appear to be locally extinct. I take daily daily bird baths, and shower twice a week (short showers) to wash my hair. We have rain barrels under every downspout, also for the garden. When I want to mop floors, I dip in my bucket. Yes, this water goes into the garden too after use.

    I’m often shocked and even infuriated by my neighbours’ cavalier attitude to water. One has a patch of grass 4’x6’. It has an automatic watering system. Every morning, I see a stream of water running down the street. He does not cut it by hand, of course, he uses an electric mower every Saturday afternoon. Another has three cars, which he washes every Saturday morning - with a running hose pipe lying in the driveway for the hour or so it takes him to get them to his standards. There’s a family of five, who seem to think they’ll die of some ghastly filth-vectored disease unless they each take two showers a day. I’ve seen dishes rinsed, one at a time, under running hot water, before going into the dishwasher. When hand washed, washed one at a time under running hot water before being rinsed one at a time under running hot water. I bite my tongue very hard.

    Yes, water returns to the great hydrological cycle - but it can take millions of years to charge an aquifer that humans come along and deplete in centuries or less. Johannesburg, for instance, draws so heavily on fossil water that the aquifers collapse, leading to the sudden appearance of large sinkholes. Once an aquifer has collapsed, it’s no longer available for recharging through percolation. Johannesburg and other cities along the Rand survive by pumping water upstream from the Vaal River.

    There’s another problem, when aquifers are depleted faster than they can recharge, the water table sinks, and sinks, to the point where it’s no longer feasible to keep drilling boreholes ever deeper. As the water table sinks, it falls below the root level of the local vegetation - bare soil, sun-baking, no longer permeable to rainfall, less percolation, lower or zero recharging.

    If recharge water for uncollapsed aquifers is polluted with chemicals that have long half-lives, it could be undrinkable without very costly remediation.

    Capetonians were repeatedly requested to voluntarily reduce their water consumption. We saw how well that worked! Everybody was gonna get what was theirs! It was only when faced with absolute irretrievable disaster that they got religion.

    For at least a quarter-century, South Africa’s been talking about towing icebergs up from Antarctica to Table Bay and mining them for drinking water. Maybe the idea will be revived now.

    Desalination? Sounds good - but what happens to the mountains of salt?

    I feel very strongly about the water question.

  9. #29
    Moderator Float On's Avatar
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    Suzanne, thank you for sharing. That was a very vivid explanation of water conservation.

    I grew up on a farm house cistern where the water truck came once every 2 weeks or so and we hauled drinking water from the gas station 7 miles away. Then we built a large pond and waited the summer of drought for the rains to fill it. I remember helping dad check the pump system in the cellar. We could use the pond water for everything but drinking. Mom was great at making sure water served 3 or 4 purposes before it was added to the garden. Dad still uses the pond system for his cabin and garden but they did bring county water through about 10 years ago. My husband was city raised and I can't bear to watch him do dishes because he leaves the water running, and I can't stop him from flushing the toilet even if just a square of toilet paper fell in it.
    Float On: My "Happy Place" is on my little kayak in the coves of Table Rock Lake.

  10. #30
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    wow that puts how precious water is into perspective. Thanks for sharing.

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