Much of the nation's water infrastructure -- especially in California -- is aging and badly in need of replacement. But, according to an Environmental Protection Agency survey released in June, the public is simply not aware of the critical nature of the problem.
"Because most of this infrastructure is out of sight and because many fine professionals work every day to keep it operating under difficult conditions, the full extent of the challenge we face is generally not understood by government officials, businesses and the public," said water expert Gerald E. Galloway in his July 25 U.S. Senate hearing testimony. Read More
With water-conservation ideas generating so much buzz lately, it's worth revisiting an old technology -- the composting toilet -- to see if it might offer new solutions.
Composting toilets have been around for decades, they use little or no water, and they treat toilet wastes on-site for re-use as valuable compost. How have these devices, with their enormous nationwide water-saving potential, fared recently in public acceptance and use by the building sector for residential, public, and commercial spaces? Read More
With water conservation becoming a hot topic in this dry year, local residents are flocking to free "laundry-to-landscape" workshops to learn how they can harness their washing machines to water their gardens. Read More
We seem to be deluged with news lately about the dwindling water supply here in Santa Cruz County. Most has centered on ways to address the problem, especially the controversial proposed desalination plant vs. the need for more conservation. What's not at issue is that increasing water shortages are due to increased demand, longer dry spells, and the need to leave more water in the streams for native fish, especially endangered coho salmon.
What often seems left out of the conversation is just how precious our existing water supply is. Read More
“People are amazed when they find out how much rainwater they can capture from their roof tops,” said Landscape Architect Bobby Markowitz at a March 15 presentation at the Museum of Art and History in Santa Cruz. A house with a 2,000 square-foot roof can capture 29,900 gallons of water during an average rain year (24 inches). That’s more than a third of the annual water consumed by a typical household (average 226 gallons per day), according to the City of Santa Cruz Water Department website. Read More
Most water utilities are not as fortunate as San Jose Water Company, which owns more than 10,000 acres of relatively undisturbed watershed, much of it forested. Most water utilities own very little land, so they have little control over how their watersheds are managed. They must rely on expensive water treatment facilities to ensure that drinking water meets Safe Drinking Water Act standards.