Posted by: rainworks | September 27, 2015

The 50 year Drinking Water Cycle!

The 50 year Drinking Water Cycle is upon us for the next 50 years, therefore it’s not sustainable!

Click to review the following links.

Drinking water systems imperiled by failing infrastructure

Help yourself with a sustainable Freshwater resource. It’s in your hands to provide drinking water, for gardening, water for bathing, and all your household needs. A decentralized and sustainable freshwater supply for your well being.

Coming soon; a Rain Water Harvesting infrastructure kit  for your Home, Business, or Farm.

Posted by: rainworks | September 26, 2015

Drinking Water Costs Will Forever Rise

One solution may be the adoption of Rain Water Harvesting. Could this Alternative fresh water solution help in the reduction of the energy costs of supplying drinking water. Not just industrial water use; for washing car parts, the manufacturing of bottled water containers, crop irrigation,  etc, but also the many other industries, businesses and government uses that use a municipalities processed drinking water for non drinking water uses.

Adding the collection of rainwater as a resource can alleviate much of the pressure demand on a Water Works system. I find the below article relating to drinking water costs are attributed to the cost of energy, and a more sustainable freshwater resource.

Small scale Conservation would also add a beneficial factor for analysis. an

One drop Facts:

  • 120 drops = 5mL

  • 1 gallon = 3785 mL

  • 90840 Drops in 1 Gallon

  • If a faucet dripped once a second how many gallons of water would it waste?

  • It would waste 347 Gallons of water a year!

  • 1 year ~ 31,536,000 seconds

  • 24 drops in 1 mL

  • 1 gallon/3785 mL X (1 mL/24 drops) X (1 drop/ 1 s) X (31,536,000 s/ 1 year) = 347.1598415 gallons / year

  • NOW ask:

  • What is the Kw energy loss if the One Drop were a Hot water resource?

Now review the following recently published article

As much as 80% of water isn’t used for drinking or bathing.

A Rain Water Harvesting implementation can cost less than drilling a home water well. Providing an ROI in as few as 5-7 years.

Coming soon, a complete RainWater Harvesting infrastructure kit.

‘Crypto’ Parasite Outbreaks Increasing in Pools Across US

LiveScience – By Rachael Rettner'Crypto' Parasite Outbreaks Increasing in Pools Across US

Now, what about Cryptosporidium in harvested rainwater?

Also as with potable rainwater we must utilize many preventive measures in providing a clean drinking water infrastructure. The captured rainwater should be the cleanest possible in the storage tank (cistern).This has been accomplished with the RainBean System Design With its dual stage debris diverter (particulate size above 1.0 micron) is separated out, and with the pre-filter (0.1 micron stainless steel) most of the Crypto hosting materials: sediment/debris is discharged. The captured rainwater is then directed toward the cistern. However, the RainBean System goes one step further, which includes a First Flush component; which collects a calculated amount of the roofs wash off water during the beginning of a rain event; it is slowly discharged as graywater. Thereafter, the remaining clean rainwater is re-directed to the point of entry (POE) of the storage cistern(s).

The total purpose of the system design is to have as near as possible; a potable water resource without having to occasionally clean out the cisterns. But when using fresh water from the cisterns as potable water, additional treatment is advised. Certainly Chlorine can be added to the cistern, but it does not kill all the Cryptosporidium, and leaves a bad taste. So at the point of use (POU), additional filters are required; a 20 micron sediment filter and a 0.5 micron Carbon Block filter will trap 99.9% of Cryptosporidium and even Guardia. Although for that ultimate confidence of potability; and most economically, a UV light system can be used. Another option, but more expensive is a whole house reverse Osmosis system.

Posted by: rainworks | June 16, 2015

A Thirsty Colorado Is Battling Over Who Owns Raindrops

Deb Neeley, an office manager and urban farmer who lives in Denver, collects water from a gutter off her greenhouse. In Colorado, rainwater barrels are still largely illegal. Credit Michael Ciaglo for The New York Times.

New York Times By JACK HEALY JUNE 15, 2015

Now Think Eminent Domain

Maybe it’s time to apply the laws of “Eminent Domain” to the acquisition of clean water resources. Governments have been using Eminent Domain to take private land to use for other purposes, many times for commercial interests, and right of ways.

There is really no or little loss of ground water from Rain Water Harvesting, captured Rainwater(rain barrels/cisterns) is initially used as fresh water and then slowly added to the ground water as Graywater, even during droughts. Normally there is a ground water loss through evaporation from several inches of the earth’s surface after a rain event. Also there is a great loss through storm water runoff during that same rain event. The use of Xeriscaping techniques (landscaping technique) can decrease or eliminate runoff. Many agricultural operations waste water through out moded irrigation techniques (ditches, canals and overhead spraying), where possible drip irrigation would be more beneficial.

The moral to the story is to allow the sustainable recycling of a precious resource; a “Clean Water Resource” for human lives.

Posted by: rainworks | May 28, 2015

Survive Droughts by Going Low-Tech for Sustainability

Australians Survived a 13-Year Drought by Going Low-Tech 

We can do it in America also. In a big way, and providing tens of thousands of shovel ready jobs, and increase American industrial production and sales of tanks, plumbing, accessories, test kits, etc.

Posted by: rainworks | April 19, 2015

Water Quality Puts ‘Iowa Nice’ to a Test

Brent Johnson straddling a tilled field and wetlands on his farm in Calhoun County, Iowa, one of three counties that have been sued over nitrates seeping into water supplies.                     Credit Ryan Donnell for The New York Times

Quandary, we need to make decisions about our food abundance and water quality. It’s not only question of balance, but the concept of working together. Do we promote GMO crops, and their required increase of Chemical fertilizers, Herbicides and Pesticides which reduces soil health? Or adopt Rain Water Harvesting projects to balance out the polluted existing water resources for a communities drinking water? Certainly many large buildings, barns, Storage parks, etc have large roof footprints for rainwater capture with hardly any nitrates. Is this a possible solution?

The following article points out the related crisis with our fresh water resources.

APRIL 18, 2015

Posted by: rainworks | April 19, 2015

China’s struggle for water security

Peter parks /AFP/file

It’s not only this above depiction of water resource pollution, but the following article points out Agricultural and Industrial pollutions clouding our global fresh water supplies. We seem to only visibly notice the contaminations after we draw our water from the earth after it had fallen from the sky. What if we compared the Agricultural and Industrial polluted water resources to harvested Rainwater?

The following article reflects that it’s not only single countries or cities, but that it is a global crisis.

Posted by: rainworks | March 25, 2015

In case you missed it: this is a really big deal.

California has become synonymous with the word drought in the past four years. With no indication that the drought will end anytime soon, the state has turned to rather desperate measures to keep water flowing. Restaurants are no longer permitted to bring customers water if they do not expressly ask for it, and violators of new water usage regulations are subject to a $500 fine. This situation has become so shockingly bad that Californians have no other choice but to pump water from prehistoric aquifers, just to meet supply needs.

In case you missed it: this is a really big deal.

Yet, amidst California’s growing thirst, bottled water companies still seem to be pumping and packaging water from the San Bernardino National Forest … in California. How is it that a state so drought stricken can afford to pass water supplies to bottled water distributors? Simply put, they can’t (and possibly didn’t even know it was happening).

A recent investigation in the Desert Sun found that Nestlé Waters North America has been pumping water from this pristine streams of this national forest with little to no oversight by the U.S. Forestry Services. While Nestlé has held the rights to extract water from this national park for years, their official permit to transport water from the stream to their bottling plantexpired in 1988. Between 1988 and now, tens of millions of gallons of water have been drawn from this stream annually and sold under the Arrowhead 100 percent Mountain Spring Water label. Although Nestlé asserts that they do monitor water levels and the impact on local wildlife, it seems more than a little irresponsible to leave this task up to the company that profits from exploiting this natural resource.

So what’s really going on here?

How Taking Water Supplies Impacts the Local Ecosystem

Wait What? Nestlé is Pumping Millions of Gallons of Water From California's National Parks and No One Seems to Care?David Vosti/Flickr

The impact of California’s drought spans far beyond humans. Native wildlife have also suffered immensely due to lack of food and water resources. Local salmon populations have dropped by 12 percent, deer populations have decreased nearly 75 percent, and waterfowl populations have dropped significantly. The loss of these species has a ripple effect, which can lead to the collapse of the entire ecosystem if efforts aren’t made to restore the balance. Seeing as how California would need 11 trillion gallons of water to end their current drought crisis, restoring this balance seems nearly impossible.

In the San Bernardino National Forest, many species rely on Strawberry Creek as a source of water.

Steve Loe, a retired Forest Service employee explained to the Desert Sun that frogs, salamanders, insects, birds such as willow flycatchers and Bell’s vireo are just some of them. During his days with the Forest Service, he saw the Santa Ana speckled dace go extinct from the river after a series of wildfires and floods. Although these natural events played a role in the loss of the species, Loe suspects that if Nestlé had not depleted water levels in the creek to such an extent, the dace would have survived the summer.

Age-Old Oversight

800px-Mill_Creek_drainage,_San_Bernardino_National_ForestWikimedia Commons

Nestlé is required to submit reports on water usage in the park, but the Forest Service has not closely tracked how much water is actually being taken from the creek. When the pipe was first installed around 1906, an environmental impact assessment was not performed and the modern service hasn’t carried out a study to gauge the pipeline’s impact on native wildlife since.

If we do not know how much water is needed to sustain a healthy ecosystem, how can we justify allowing 705 millions of gallons of water to be funneled into bottles, annually? (Especially in the middle of a serious drought, and especially because we don’t need more bottled water or plastic bottles!)

Essentially, Nestlé is pumping millions of gallons of public water from a drought stricken area and reselling it in the form of bottles to consumers. Yes, this is as ridiculous as it sounds.

Bottling water is an incredibly unsustainable business, and if no one (aside from the people profiting) is monitoring how much water is being extracted from delicate ecosystems, then we’re setting ourselves up for disaster.

The Shocking “Unknown” Impact of Bottling Freshwater Supplies 

5233546650_e1d6866282_zSteve Depolo/Flickr

While the Nestlé news in California has garnered a significant amount of media attention, this is hardly the only instance where bottled water companies have taken precedence over local ecosystems.

Crystal Geyser Water Company opened a facility in Mount Shasta in 2014, much to the dismay of local residents, without performing an environmental impact report. Like Nestlé, Crystal Geyser is not closely monitored by the Forest Service but submits water usage reports. According to the Forest Service, the impact of the company’s water use on groundwater supplies and aquifers is “unknown.” Apparently, “unknown” is the new “okay.”

According to the National Resources Defence Council, “Other springs in national forests across the country have been tapped for use by bottled water companies, including Nicolet National Forest in Wisconsin, Ocala National Forest in Florida, Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee, Chattahoochee National Forest in Georgia, Nantahala National Forest in North Carolina, and Sumter National Forest in South Carolina. Information on the consequences is hard to come by.”

Converting public waters into private products is a major issue in the U.S., and the lack of transparency is troubling to say the least.

What You Can Do

Over 1,500 water bottles are consumed in the U.S. every second. We are well aware of the role that plastic bottles play in marine pollution, and as we learn about how their production impacts natural resources it becomes clear that we need to find an alternative.

Luckily, we can all help to reduce our personal impact and slow the demand for bottled water by simply opting for a reusable water bottle. A single reusable bottle can replace 167 plastic water bottles a year (and save you a ton of money). If everyone in the U.S. made this one simple switch, we could significantly reduce the demand for bottled water and see a drop in the resources drained from national parks and reduction in landfill waste. Sounds like a pretty good deal to us.

If the Forest Service isn’t going to be accountable for how our public water supplies are used, it’s up to us to pick up the slack. We can all make a difference by being mindful of our consumption habits and their downstream impacts. Making one small switch in our habits can set us up for an exponential improvement.

Lead image source: Don Graham/Flickr

March 24 at 5:52 PM 

Do you live in Colorado? Does it rain on your house? Do the drops patter off the roof, compose romantic puddles on your porch?

Guess what: That water isn’t yours. You can’t have it. And you most certainly cannot set out a tank to catch what falls from the sky, you thief.

Water laws are so strict in Colorado that rainwater collection is virtually prohibited. The doctrine is written into the state’s Constitution. All the rain is already spoken for. It belongs to someone, and that someone probably isn’t you. So don’t you touch it.

“The rain barrel is the bong of the Colorado garden,” local columnist Dave Philipps wrote in 2007. “It’s legal to sell one. It’s legal to own one. It’s just not legal to use it for its intended purpose.”

That might change soon, slightly.

On Monday, Colorado representatives voted to allow people to store up to 110 gallons of the rainwater that flows off their roof. One hundred gallons is on the high end of how much water a person in America uses per day. It’s about three tubs full of water, or four loads of laundry.

Rain barrel legalization will not save the world, nor even Colorado, where already the law against rainwater collection is rarely enforced. H.B. 1259might not even pass Colorado’s Senate. But it’s a symbolic step toward a more modern way of thinking about water in America’s dry Western states.

In the West, water belongs to someone

The principle at stake is called prior appropriation, which is legalese for “first come, first served.” This doctrine forms the bedrock of water law in the Western states, where long ago settlers raced to gobble up all the water rights. Prior appropriation helps explain  why water-intensive agriculture is still a major industry in a place as arid as the West: Many of the early claimants were farmers seeking to irrigate their crops.

These days, with drought parching the region, there’s hardly enough water to go around. According to the law, the people who get first dibs are the ones who called it first, which tend to be the agricultural users and not the city dwellers.

In Colorado, other people’s water rights even extend to the raindrops that fall onto your  roof.

Why? Because those raindrops might tumble into the gutter; they might seep into the ground; might, in some other eventual, serpentine fashion, find their way to a river where somebody’s great-great-grandfather once established a claim.

Legal experts have long criticized the Wild West principle of prior appropriation. They say that the tradition of dibsies is incongruent with the way that people demand water in the 21st century.

“It’s this very rigid, very old system of water rights that hasn’t really changed that much in over a century,” said Reed Benson, a law professor at the University of New Mexico.

“Prior appropriation is so deeply embedded in Western water law,” said Robert Glennon, a law professor at the University of Arizona. “We academics criticize it but it’s not going anywhere.”

Benson has studied all the different ways that Western states have grappled with an increasingly stale idea like prior appropriation, which allocates water according to seniority instead of need. Bills legalizing rainwater collection are an example of how legislators have sought to carve exceptions into that way of thinking. (California passed a similar law in 2012.)

“There are a lot of good, practical, common-sense arguments in favor of a bill like this,” Benson said. “The fact that it’s controversial, the fact that it’s taken this long, shows you how well-entrenched that old tenacious legal system is.”

Whose idea was this, anyway?

Some laws are crafted by Congress; but the system of water rights in the West is a lesson in how customs can calcify into legal doctrine.

As the story goes, the dibsies approach to water management dates to the California Gold Rush. Flowing water has long been a gold miner’s best friend: As it cuts through the landscape, it picks up pebbles, dust, and occasionally, specks of something more precious.

These treasures end up naturally at the bottom of riverbeds, waiting to be sorted out of the sediment. During the 1849 Gold Rush, prospectors schlepped across the country to pan for those rare glints in California’s streams.

Miners of means sought to speed up the process. They set up high-pressure hoses to blast entire cliff sides. The runoff would flow through boxes that caught any gold fragments washed loose.

Hydraulic mining harmed the environment and placed exorbitant demands on a dry region’s water resources. The practice eventually fell out of favor, but not before it made a lasting impact on water law.

To feed their thirsty operations, miners dug channels that siphoned water from sources that could be miles away. They followed an apportioning rule carried over from mining principles. The first person to dig his canal was entitled to whatever water he carried away.

Eventually, Western states began to recognize and regulate this practice. They parceled out permits to surface water in the order and quantities that people came to claim it. As settlers arrived to start irrigated farms on parched soil, people continued to treat water as its own and separate property right: Just because you owned the land didn’t mean you owned the water.

The Eastern states, in contrast, were wet enough that they regarded surface water as a shared, inexhaustible resource (as in the common-law tradition, imported from soggy England). They did not keep tabs on how much water anyone took out of a river. People who owned land next to a river were free to use that river’s water in any reasonable fashion, as long as it didn’t affect their neighbors.

Though it’s maligned today, the system of prior appropriation suited the West’s arid climate. Unlike in the Eastern states, settlers could not rely on what streams, if any, ran through their property. They needed a legal system that allowed them to bring in water from far afield. Furthermore, water was scarce enough that it had to be measured out, which called for an orderly system of permits. These rights were given to those who would use the water productively — to irrigate a field, or to supply a mine.

In theory, prior appropriation made sure that water wasn’t wasted. People could not simply claim part of a river and divert it onto their property. They had to show that they had plans for the water, and that their plans did not interfere with the designs of the people who came before them.

Only then would they get rights to the water — and only enough water to serve their needs. As long as they continue putting the water to work, those rights are theirs forever.

Decades later, the unforeseen consequences

Fast forward 150 years to the present, when nearly every river basin has been burdened with claim on top of claim. Cue a record-breaking drought.

Prior appropriation has no provision for shared water conservation; the priority system is strict. During dry times, someone with a senior claim gets to suck down her full allotment. The people down the line might get nothing.

(In Colorado, she’s even entitled to the rain that falls onto her neighbor’s roofs. That rain, by law, must be allowed to flow unimpeded into the river for her to use.)

Critics say this system encourages waste. People with senior water rights don’t have any reason to cut back on their water use. (In practice the system is a bit looser, Illinois Institute of Technology law professor Dan Tarlock notes. It’s frowned upon to completely hog the water, even if someone has the legal right to do so. There’s some cooperation among growers.)

Consider the situation in California, where last week the governor imposed mandatory water conservation rules. Residents may not water their lawns more than a couple times a week. Restaurants can no longer serve water unless patrons specifically ask for it. If these measures don’t work, the state will consider punishing people with fines.

Yet, as the Economist noted last year, agriculture guzzles 80 percent of the water that California pumps, while representing only 2 percent of the state’s economic activity. Cities are responsible for most of the growth in the West, but irrigated farms still account for most of the water used.

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has set a goal for homeowners to cut back on water consumption by 20 percent; but even if every suburbanite complies, the reduction would mostly be symbolic.

“There’s a strong push to conserve municipal demand in part to send a message, because that’s where the people are,” said Benson. “But also because that’s viewed as easier to accomplish. Agricultural water conservation is hard to do: in part because it’s expensive, and in part because the law doesn’t incentivize conservation.”

Posted by: rainworks | March 22, 2015

Start Building Homes Designed for RWH

“When you build new homes today, you really ought to consider putting the plumbing in (for rainwater),” Combest said. Makes complete sense! 

Add it to the resale value of the home. With proper sustainable construction, Educated people will realize the value can only go up in the future. Not only will new homes benefit from RWH designs, but older homes can be retrofitted for RWH using existing plumbing, but a backflow preventer valve would be required when attached to a commercial/community water supply.

Not only will new homes benefit from RWH designs, but older homes can be retrofitted for RWH using existing plumbing, but a backflow preventer valve would be required when attached to a commercial/community water supply. Soon to be available will be a complete install kit from gutter to Cistern (Rain Water Harvesting tank(s), similar to:

Just today:

A friend who knows about these things told me this morning that water bills here will rise 30% over next six months, and may triple over the next year. That’s understandable in terms of supply and demand. California is in the fourth year of a drought. Water is becoming scarce, so its price is rising. Many economists approve of this market approach. As water becomes more expensive, people will have to become more careful in how much they use. But they’re not considering inequality. The savage inequality that’s defacing America is most extreme in California. A tripling of water bills will devastate lower-income families but won’t even be noticed by California’s software-app executives and venture capitalists, who’ll continue to fill up their pools and water their 20-acre estates. If we believe in equal sacrifice, this isn’t the answer. It would be better to ration water on a per-person basis.

As America lurches toward both widening inequality and devastating climate change, these are the kinds of choices we have to make. Rising sea levels will first flood areas inhabited by the poor; scarce arable land will cause food prices to rise, harming the poor most; water shortages will cause bills to soar. We must be aware: Environmental justice is becoming more urgent with each passing day.


NOTE: The only thing Sustainable about Commercial/Community water supplies is; water bills will always have a sustainable INCREASE for investor profits.

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