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Rainwater Harvesting News…and other stories

Global Water Security and Brisbane’s rainwater revival

How do you solve one of the most important and complex problems facing humanity: Global Water Security? At MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), they challenge a team of fresh, young minds to work together across a range of disciplines. On the Mission 2017 website, you will find a thorough but accessible summary of the major issues, proposed solutions and an overall sense of hope!

You will also find reference to the role rainwater harvesting must play in the solution to water security in all countries. Given the scope of the undertaking, I must admit to being surprised (and even a little bit proud) that Brisbane, Australia is noted in regard to the role of public education and awareness campaigns in the role of water conservation by reducing consumption.
Global water security
In the ‘Implementation’ section regarding ‘Domestic Conservation Education’, it is noted: …”Considering Brisbane, Australia as an example, when facing a drought, the government implemented various conservation measures. Bans on lawn watering, shortened showers, and public awareness campaigns nearly halved water consumption…”
Other recent analysis suggests that some of the lessons learnt here in Brisbane during the severe drought peaking around 2007 are, in fact, still largely adhered to. It still seems surreal to think that South-East Queensland came dangerously close to running out of water: something hitherto regarded as almost impossible in a sub-tropical climate.

As well as establishing bans on external mains water use during the height of the drought, local and State Governments offered financial rebates for installing rainwater tanks. A far cry from the days of issuing bans against the use of rainwater tanks, which occurred in Brisbane around the 1960s. It seems now that the combined effect of reduced mains water consumption and the availability of independent rainwater supplies is once again causing ‘concern’ for governments; this time in the form of reduced water consumption revenue!

These days we don’t tend to hear words of encouragement to install a rainwater tank to decentralise supply, nor encouragement to use rainwater as a substitute for filtered, processed and piped potable water when it is perfectly suited to purpose. Why should we be using our expensive, treated water on the garden, to wash the car, clean the windows, or hose down the driveway?

Especially here in the land of “drought and flooding rains”, we should be heeding the lessons of the past. After reading the findings from Mission 2017 and the proposed strategies for achieving global water security, you may have cause to question our collective priorities and attitudes to sustainable living and local water security.

World Water Day 2016 – Water and Jobs

World Water Day was celebrated this year on 22 March 2016. Each year, United Nations Water – the entity which coordinates the UN’s work on water and sanitation – nominates a theme for World Water Day. The theme encompasses an existing issue or future challenge relating to water on a global scale. This year, the theme was “Water and Jobs”.
Read more on the official United Nations World Water Day website.

Looking back: World Water day 2015 engaged the theme of “Water and Sustainable Development”. Here is a link the the WWD15 website.

On the topic of global water scarcity, see this fascinating collection of images by International Business Times reporter David Sim “…to make you think twice about wasting this precious resource”.

Rainwater research flush with water saving potential

Recent rainwater research conducted in the United States indicates that almost one third of all potable water used is flushed down the toilet!  The research focused on four major cities: Philadelphia, New York, Seattle and Chicago. It suggests that urban rainwater harvesting could have a large impact on potable water conservation; potentially saving up to 80 percent of toilet flushes.water splash with reflection

Besides the water saving potential, the research also indicates that households could save up to 25 percent on their water usage charges.

Read about the research in this article published by Brooks Hays via United Press International.

India leads the way in rainwater conservation

While much of the western world takes water supply for granted, countries like India lead the way in rainwater conservation as they battle with the pressing issue of maintaining a constant, clean water supply to the population. Rainwater storage initiatives are particularly critical in areas of the world with extreme rainfall variations.

A rainwater harvesting initiative in Kerala, India is helping to alleviate crucial water shortages. Roof-water capture is being encouraged to top-up underground wells to supply water during the seasonal build-up to the monsoon rains.

Read this inspiring article “What India can teach the rest of the world about rainwater conservation” by Washington-based writer Ananya Bhattacharyya via Atlantic Media’s CityLab.

kerala rainwater harvesting
Kerela, India is renown for its distinctive fishing nets, picturesque houseboats and large river systems. Despite the seeming abundance of water, critical water shortages occur during the dry season. Rainwater harvesting during the seasonal monsoon may help to alleviate the problem.

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