You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘rainwater collection’ tag.
Today, 22nd March is World Water Day. The UN says the objective of World Water Day 2011 is to “focus international attention on the impact of rapid urban population growth, industrialization & uncertainties caused by climate change, conflicts & natural disasters on urban water systems.”
The theme for 2011 is Water for Cities & “aims to spotlight & encourage governments, organizations, communities & individuals to actively engage in addressing the challenges of urban water management.”
During last Sunday 20th to Monday 21st March parts of Sydney received a record-breaking 6 weeks of rain in just 24 hours with the weather forecasters saying this was related to climate change. The UN says climate change will force more people to live in cities, further stressing the current water management infrastructure.
You only needed to be out on the roads last Sunday to see that many parts of Marrickville LGA were flooded & driving conditions were dangerous. Most stormwater in Marrickville LGA enters the drains until eventually reaching the Cooks River. It’s great Marrickville Council has built a number of bio-swales near the river & set up pollution traps to filter the stormwater as it enters the river. The swales clean up the oils & other ground pollutants collected by stormwater. However, swales are relatively new infrastructure & there is much more work to be done across all the relevant Councils before we can say that the Cooks River is fully protected from stormwater pollutants.
Sydney City Council is planning to capture stormwater from roofs of a large residential area in their Sustainable Street Project. Thousands of litres of stormwater is already being collected in Myrtle Street Chippendale proving that it can be done easily & cheaply. This water is used to water their verge gardens & so far there has not been a need to use water from a private home.
To divert & collect water from roofs is not rocket science so I wonder why we are not all doing it in cities & town across Australia. Marrickville Council has said that many of the new street trees planted die due to lack of water. Very few people want to water the street tree out front because of the added cost to their water bills, yet rainwater from our roofs can be easily diverted to the street tree & verge. Instead, most of the stormwater races past over hard surfaces & the tree gets only as much water as it can grab. If it is a tree in an area that floods, it gets a bigger drink. If not, then it has to learn to survive on very little water or send its roots to where it can access water, often the front garden of the nearest property. This creates problems with some properties & yet it need not happen.
The UN says the following about urban water – “There is growing evidence that water resources will be significantly affected by climate change, both in quantity & quality, particularly through the impact of floods, droughts, or extreme events. The effect of climate change will also mean more complex operations, disrupted services & increased cost for water & wastewater services. In addition, climate change & disasters will result in bigger migration to urban areas, increasing the demands on urban systems.”
Pretty serious stuff, especially for poorer communities in the third world. If climate change does happen in the way scientists expect, then water will become a major issue for us as well & we won’t be happy to see run across our streets, down stormwater drains & into rivers or oceans. Water will be far too precious a commodity for us to allow this to happen.
Farmers in NSW, Victoria & South Australia who rely on water from the Murray-Darling River system have already experienced the environmental destruction, loss of diversity & extreme difficulty growing food while having to buy & get water delivered from elsewhere. I predict that it won’t be too many years before many of us will choose to capture rainwater for our own use because the price of turning on the tap will be prohibitive & Councils will have to address our dying water management infrastructure, again because of costs.
We are the lucky ones with numerous taps inside & outside our homes with hot & cold running clean water. Here are some unnerving stats to finish with –
- Every second the world’s population grows by 2 people.
- 493 million people share their sanitation facilities. This means something like 1 toilet for a street or neighbourhood, not 1 toilet for a household.
- 1.4 billion people do not have access to clean drinking water.
- Every 8 seconds a child dies from drinking dirty water.
- The World Health Organisation says 80% of all sickness & disease worldwide is related to contaminated water.
You can read about World Water Day here – http://www.unwater.org/worldwaterday/
I have written about a way to capture rainwater from your roof to water the verge & street trees here – http://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/capturing-stormwater/