The author has traveled the world, not as a tourist, but living as a part of various communities in many countries. Having witnessed many technologies past and present, I saw the need to adapt some of the past to the present; “Clean Water Alternatives” for our planets future survival.
I have been involved in; construction of, use of, and research of “Rainwater Harvesting” over the past several years.
I also became quite knowledgeable of the merits concerning Graywater system development and use, and also black water concerns along with the use of several brands of composting toilets.
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Having lived 4 years on Isla Solarte, a Caribbean Island in the Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Republic of Panama, proved to me that captured Rainwater provided me with the cleanest and most abundant water supply around. In those 4 years the nearby town of Bocas del Toro had its Hotels and Restaurants shutting down due to droughts. Normally when Bocas municipal water came from the tap; it was slow, it looked bad, smelled and tasted bad. Many people in Bocas survived primarily on bottled water and rain water catchment systems. Many of the Hotels had large filter systems, and several even had UV sanitizing systems. The 1955 Bocas water system was built with that era’s population in mind. That municipal water supply is still unchanged to this day in 2009. There was a large earthquake in 1992, no doubt fracturing much of 1955 underground infrastructure as were the seawalls and sidewalks as well as some buildings destroyed.
A spring of 2006 drought proved so debilitating that the US Military Reserves brought in a gigantic desalination plant and heavy equipment to help alleviate the problem. Now, expensive “De-Sal” or desalination plants are today’s buzz words for their lifeblood. De-Sal plants also require monthly or annual maintenance as do most of the filter systems and water softeners. In December 2008 there were 14 new hotels or other commercial buildings almost completed, and yet they were permitted on that same ancient water system (though some Hotels were also building their own water storage tanks). However, some new developments are now required to provide their own well or storage systems.
How can there be a water crisis in a tropical rain forested location in Bocas del Toro, Panama?
This is not an isolated crisis; it only represents a scenario of one community of many on this planet.