Tuesday, 10 January 2012

CASE 379 - Self sustainability - Part 4 (Water)

Water is not the endless resource we assume it to be. Less than 1% of the total volume of water on earth is drinkable and a further 4% is frozen. It seems insane that most of the water we user becomes sewage after use, and requires extensive treatment before it can be dumped into the sea. And so we have yet another unsustainable practice in our society today.

Going off-grid is still a radical and ambitious idea, but installing Greywater systems and Rainwater harvesting systems which preserve and prevent some of that waste are becoming much more popular with ordinary householders for both environmental and economic factors. It is heavily speculated that at some point in the near future, the price of water will exceed that of oil per barrel. As that day nears systems such as Rainwater harvesting and Greywater systems will become standard installations in every home.

Rainwater Harvesting

Rainwater harvesting systems are becoming increasingly popular as a viable solution to sustainable living in the 21st century. New builds are increasingly utilising this method as it can have the shortest payback time of all eco-friendly systems, particularly for commercial use where roofs are large and quantity is required. Domestic systems can range in size from a large storage tank buried in your garden to flush your toilets and wash your car, to a water butt which can water your lawn, (particularly useful in a hose-pipe ban) economically and without high installation costs.

As with Solar and Wind harvesting, how much you can collect depends largely on your geographical location's general weather conditions, but most heavily populated areas have adequate rainfall. In some areas (such as tropical islands) rainwater harvesting is crucial for survival during the dry season, as it can provide all water needs for 6 months before rains begin to replenish the supply. Whilst rainwater is safe to drink, urban pollution makes it unwise to do so. It is most usefull in combination with recycled water for uses such as flushing toilets, for which greywater is unsuitable, so that a complete system can be installed which requires no ongoing effort.

Other cases like this 1

CASE 020 - Self sustainability - part 1 (introduction to self sustainability)
CASE 361 - Self sustainability - part 2 (Growing)
CASE 369 - Self sustainability - Part 3 (Poweringyour home)
CASE 379 - Self sustainability - Part 4 (Water)

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