Wednesday, February 15, 2012

One Alternative to the Peak Water Problem

There was a friend of mine who was a Catholic Priest who was also an attorney and had at one time been District Attorney for Santa Cruz County. He had started his own church without getting defrocked and was at about 200 IQ and spoke about 20 languages and read publications from all over the world in all these languages. He was a very interesting fellow to talk to. One day he wanted to show me his home where he had converted a cement septic tank under this home into a place to grow Rainbow Trout. It seems the rainbow trout were now a foot or two long in the water which came from his downspouts off his house. The water first went into old wine barrels and then secondarily went into the now clean septic tanks that the rainbow trout lived in. The rainbow trout ate all the bugs and algae that gathered on or near the now clean converted cement septic tank and he also caught some of the water in the wine barrels before it went to the next stage for drinking water that he boiled before he used it for making tea and for drinking. What was interesting to me was that here was a system for people to not only grow their own fish but to have their own drinking water just from water running off their downspouts off their roofs every time it rained or there was a heavy dew or fog. In addition in his backyard he had chickens and then he used the chicken manure on his organic garden in which he grew vegetables for eating and he also ate the organic eggs from his free range chickens in his backyard. Like I said he was a very interesting fellow who often took people in his church on tours to the standing stones in Europe on which he was an expert and tours to the Holy land on which he was also an expert. However, these days during peak water I think his ideas regarding water have much more merit for each one of us with a house and downspouts that could be run into wine barrels or other containers so that we could gather water to use for various purposes including drinking if we boiled it first. In this way each of us that wants to becomes more self sufficient can do that. However, there is one caveat. Your water will taste a little like whatever your roofing material is. So, likely the best roofing material would be metal or cement or pottery tiles so your water is more conducive to be wanting to drink it even after you boil it. However, if you are only watering your gardens or growing fish with it likely it would matter less as long as your vegetables, plants, or fish can survive it.

Another thought: Even if one lived in a desert where it almost never rained it would be possible to recycle one's water and likely get about 80% to 90% for re-use. I was thinking that if your purifying units were all gravity feed and you used solar power to lift gray water to run it through filtration units similar to the ones used in spacecraft to recycle water one could use gray water many times by just refiltering it. So, the only new water likely one would need to add into the system would be for drinking and possibly for washing dishes. Most other water could be recycled effectively for washing clothes, toilets and to some degree even watering plants. If you were growing things hydroponically, even most of that water could also be reclaimed sent up slowly through solar powered water pumps into a tank and by falling through a gravity feed filtration system be filtered enough for most non-drinking or non-washing dishes types of uses. In this way by using solar power to recycle water slowly one could reclaim about 80% to 90% of all water used in a similar way that people do on the space station.

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