Many areas in the world are running out of water. Mind you, the Earth is not running out of water, but supplies in some areas are running out. Whether it is from drought, mismanagement, environmental loss or over-use, many cities are facing the harsh reality that they may be running out of water. The solutions to this aren’t simple, and can be very expensive and/or uncomfortable. Here are some of the things various communities are considering;
- Restricting new industry and residential construction
- Using alternative water supplies (Flint, anyone?)
- Re-use industrial water/gray water
- Increase the price of water to discourage use
- Purchase water from other towns/cities/states
- Mandate rain water collection and reuse
- Develop new, aggressive storm-water collection/filtration/distribution systems
In my opinion we are still ignoring one of the most potent tools we have for winning the war on water scarcity, and that is capturing the bounty of rainwater that Mother Nature continues to throw at us. The tremendous amount of rain water that we let run down into our storm sewers really sticks out like a sore thumb once we apply arithmetic to it.
Check this out: 1″ of rain amounts to 27,154 gallons of water per acre of land.
The city of Los Angeles spans roughly 320,000 acres and experiences about 15 inches of rain per year. This translates to (320,000 acres) x ( 27,154 gallons per acre/ 1 inch of rain) x (15 inches rain/year) ≈ 130.3 billion gallons of water from rain.
The city of Los Angeles consumes roughly 13,000 billion gallons per month. Now, while it would be impossible to capture and reuse all the rainwater that falls in L.A., surely it makes tremendous sense to take a much harder look at technologies and infrastructure that can at least capture and use more of it. In all parts of the world where water scarcity is an issue, communities ought to do the best job they can to increase their rainwater conservation.