The Real Bottom Line on Water Conservation

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums SUSTAINABILITY & DESIGN The Real Bottom Line on Water Conservation

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    Shavawn Coleman

    Some cities get a rebate for harvesting rain water while here in Las Vegas it is almost considered theft. The precipitation that falls from the sky and lands on your property is technically property of the state of Nevada and you aren’t allowed to harvest it. What are your thoughts on this while we are going through this drought? To me it seems the utility companies are more worried about the financial bottom line as opposed to the environment.

    Check out what my thoughts are below…

    Roland Beinert

    The easiest and best way to get around this, in my opinion, is to scrap the rain barrel idea and design landscapes to harvest the water directly with infiltration areas. You might have to modify the soil a bit to do this, but you will get less precious precipitation evaporating than you would in a rain barrel, especially if you cover the soil with a good mulch and shade your infiltration areas with trees. Letting water infiltrate into the soil is also better for our rivers and lakes as well, because it can help recharge ground water. Rain barrels are great, if you really can’t infiltrate for some reason.But I would push for more infiltration over rain barrels in most cases.

    Jason T. Radice

    The poinf of harvesting is to use that water for another purpose, be it irrigation or for use as grey water for toilets and such. You can’t do that with infiltration. In water sensitive areas, the water you may collect for your use is akin to hoarding and can be crucial for the public water supply and for hydro because it rains so infrequently. Its not just you, but if thousands did it, there would be serious (moreso) water issues. Do you know if the law is applicable for condensate?  

    Shavawn Coleman

    At Roland: We do try and do that too. Our landscapes for the most part are desert adaptive so that does help in water conservation. Thanks for the great feedback, I will keep that in mind with the next project. We actually just finished a project where we did this exact same thing!

    At Jason T. Radice: I would like to try and use grey water for irrigation and toilets, and we can do that to a certain point but not with reclaimed water from rain barrels. We do use natural infiltration to naturally purify the water as well as irrigation. I am not sure about the law on condensate, I will look into that! Thank you for the great comment. It is always great to get a different perspective on the subject!

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