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NEWS

August 2016

Risk Analysis Approach to Rainwater Harvesting Systems - Urban rainwater reuse preserves water resources and promotes sustainable development in rapidly growing urban areas. The efficiency of a large number of urban water reuse systems, operating under different climate and demand conditions, is evaluated here on the base of a new risk analysis approach. Results obtained by probability analysis (PA) indicate that maximum efficiency in low demanding scenarios is above 0.5 and a threshold, distinguishing low from high demanding scenarios, indicates that in low demanding scenarios no significant improvement in performance may be attained by increasing the storage capacity of rainwater harvesting tanks. >> more

Impressive Property Rains Down with Green Water Tech - However, what’s most fascinating is the property’s use of additional green features such as multi-zoned radiant heat, graywater distribution system and a 6,000-gallon storm water collection system.

Let the rainwater harvesting commence - For many years, Coloradans have been banned from using rain barrels to collect and store rainwater at their homes. Things are changing now, thanks to Gov. Hickenlooper signing House Bill 16-1005, which allows 110 gallons of rainwater to be stored and used on residential properties. This measure takes effect on Wednesday. Here are some important facts to help you understand this new law.

June 2016

Codes are the Last Obstacle to Wider Use of Graywater in Homes - Today, the technology and know-how exists to take graywater from washing machines and showers—as well as rainwater collected from roofs—and use that water to flush toilets and irrigate landscapes. That same water can be brought back into the house, treated, and used yet again. It makes a lot of sense and saves a lot of water, so why isn't it happening, or even mandated, everywhere?

Time has come to care for water like it’s precious - Even in a spring dry by Maine standards, it’s hard to envision how parched some places can become. Water scarcity is increasingly coming to define landscapes and lives. By the start of 2015, NASA calculated that California had reached a water deficit of 11 trillion gallons (roughly 93 times all the water used annually by Maine households). Global thirst will only grow as the world warms. A new World Bank report, High and Dry, warns that water scarcity – aggravated by climate change – could lead to economic losses and heightened conflicts.

Potential of Rainwater Harvesting and Greywater Reuse for Water Consumption Reduction and Wastewater Minimization - Northeastern Mexico is a semiarid region with water scarcity and a strong pressure on water sources caused by the rapid increase of population and industrialization. In this region, rainwater harvesting alone is not enough to meet water supply demands due to the irregular distribution of rainfall in time and space. Thus, in this study the reliability of integrating rainwater harvesting with greywater reuse to reduce water consumption and minimize wastewater generation.

How capturing rain could save Mexico City from a water crisis - More than 10 million Mexicans lack access to safe water and its capital, Mexico City, is ranked third on the list of cities facing an extreme water crisis. But this is not because of natural water scarcity. In fact, Mexico City receives roughly five months of rain a year and is notorious for flooding. The problem is due to the the city’s infrastructure and mismanagement of water. In Mexico City, around 70% of water is extracted by aquifers, more than the amount that can be naturally recharged. This is where Isla Urbana comes in. In 2009, the founding team of engineers, designers and sociologists designed a rainwater harvesting system to enable communities to catch rain, filter it and use it for the greater part of the year, without having to depend on an unsustainable system.

May 2016

Salt Lake County, Murray City & Eagle Mountain Bring Back Popular Rain Barrel Program - The Utah Rivers Council is proud to announce the highly anticipated return of their RainHarvest program with Murray City, Salt Lake County and Eagle Mountain. Residents of Murray, Salt Lake County and Eagle Mountain can purchase rain barrels for a greatly subsidized price of just $50, (quantities are limited). Rain barrels are also available for just $75 for residents outside these participating municipalities, a significant discount from the barrel’s $129 retail price. Residents can pre-order discounted rain barrels online at www.savesomethingutah.org. >> more

With TX state population growing, water board eyes new water plan - The Texas Water Development Board on Thursday approved the state’s newest water plan, basically a road map for how the state will meet its water demands over the next half-century amid a steady growth in population. The population boom is expected to be especially acute in the Colorado River basin, home to Austin and Travis County, as well as parts or all of Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Fayette, Hays and Williamson counties — some of the fastest-growing areas of the country. Conservation remains “the quickest, easiest way to generate more water,” Barho said, adding that the region will see more emphasis on rainwater harvesting and on maintaining and restoring old, leaky pipes >> more

The Water Efficiency Rating Score (WERS) Launches - The Green Builder Coalition has been working hard on their Water Efficiency Rating Score — the WERS — for homes. The inaugural WERS training happened in Santa Fe, New Mexico in March. I was in that class, and I learned a lot. Now the program, which has been in development for the past couple of years, is ready for prime time. The WERS is a way to put a number on a home's water efficiency similar to the HERS Index for energy efficiency. It's a water use modeling tool that allows you to compare one house to another. You have to put in all the data for a home's water use, and the tool gives you a number, generally between 0 and 100. >> more

Extension offers fact sheet on how to harvest rainwater under new Colorado rules - Colorado’s longtime ban on residential rain barrels has come to an end. Now most homeowners in the state are allowed to collect precipitation for later outdoor use. Gov. John Hickenlooper recently signed House Bill 1005, which allows a maximum of two rain barrels — with a combined capacity of 110 gallons — are allowed at each household. The measure is to take effect on Aug. 10. >> State Regulations

April 2016

Study: Homeowners could use rainwater to flush toilets - New research published in the journal Resources, Conservation and Recycling suggests that, with large enough storage tanks, the average rainfall in four major U.S. cities would be enough to offset household water requirements for flushing toilets. A team of environmental engineers at Drexel University found that it rains enough in Philadelphia, New York, Seattle and Chicago that, if homeowners had a way to collect and store the rain falling on their roofs, they could flush their toilets often without having to use a drop of municipal water. >> more

Partnerships yield global impact for Engineers Without Borders - When Josh Umansky-Castro joined Engineers Without Borders as a freshman, he traveled to the remote mountain town of La Pitajaya, Peru, to help build and maintain two water distribution systems serving 21 families. The pipe systems that carry water downhill from a distant spring were designed by Princetonians who came before him, and who left a lasting impact on the community they came to serve. >> more

Innovative rainwater harvesting in Texas gets well-deserved praise - At a time when making every drop of water count is critical, innovation coupled with conservation can make a big difference. In recognition of that concept, a Texas rancher and a county livestock facility have won awards in Texas for their rainwater capture systems. Bob Durham, who has a small beef cattle operation near Plainview, in the Texas Panhandle, worked with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to develop a rainwater capture and storage system that can provide part of his needs for livestock water. >> more

April is Water Awareness Month - Every day is a good day to be water aware! April is Water Awareness Month and we invite you, your family and your neighbors to join in the celebration of Water Awareness Month. WAM was first launched in 2008, and this column is “overflowing” with ideas to help you learn more about water conservation and become more aware of our state’s most precious resource. Water is a serious subject in Arizona. The availability and quality of our water supply is critical to our quality of life and our state’s status as a world-class destination. >> more

Rainwater Harvesting Typologies for UK Houses: A Multi Criteria Analysis of System Configurations - Academic research and technological innovation associated with rainwater harvesting (RWH) systems in the UK has seen a shift of emphasis in recent years. Traditional design approaches use whole life cost assessments that prioritise financial savings associated with the provision of an alternative water supply. However, researchers and practitioners are increasingly recognising broader benefits associated with rainwater reuse, such as stormwater attenuation benefits. >> more

It's illegal to have a rain barrel in Colorado, but that's about to change - There's a saying in Colorado that "whiskey's for drinking and water's for fighting." For a long time, state Rep. Jessie Danielson and several of her legislative colleagues have been fighting for water — or, more specifically, fighting for the right of homeowners to conserve rainwater in rain barrels. It's a fight they're about to win. Colorado is the only state in the nation where it's illegal to have a residential rain barrel. >> more

MARCH 2016 TOP NEWS STORIES

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March 2016

It's Official: Eating Food Watered by (Treated) Greywater is Fine - In dry or arid areas, from Israel to California, water use can be tightly regulated, especially for gardens. But there's another source of water that's going unused, and a new study suggests we should take a closer look at it. Water conservation types like to talk about the three basic types of water for use in agriculture: blue, green, and grey. Blue water is clean, withdrawn from reservoirs, groundwater, and rivers. Green water is rain. And grey water is used, or dirty water, but not so used that it has no possible reuses. So that disqualifies toilet water, which has to be treated more intensely (sewage is known as “black water”), but the leftovers from your sink or bathtub has a lot of possibilities. >> more

The Ozone Laundry Solution - Water Energy and Laundry Consulting have sparked a revolution in the laundry industry; one that will cause a paradigm shift in the way that many millions of pounds of linen are washed around the world every single day. A Water Energy Ozone Laundry System will eliminate the need to use hot water to thoroughly clean 90% or more of the total daily volume in a hospitality or healthcare laundry facility. >> CDC Advisory on Ozone Treatment for Laundry

Why it makes little sense to regulate rainwater barrels in the dry western U.S. - Western water law means collecting rainwater was legal only a few years ago in some states. Many of us never think about who gets to use the drops of rain that fall from the sky. But it’s an increasingly pertinent question as more people look to collect rainwater as a way to conserve water, live off the grid or save money on water bills. As a result, many states in the arid West are now asking whether rain barrels are allowed under existing law and policy and, in some cases, are setting limits on the practice of rainwater catchment. >> more

Rainwater, gray water can be reused, saving money - “You can store the rainwater for as long as you want,” he said. “Just make sure it’s covered. And the container should be black and not emit light. Otherwise, algae can grow in there.” One of the benefits of using rainwater for watering plants is that it contains no salt, which can deter plant growth. Using gray water is another way to make the most of every drop. “Gray water includes water from the bathroom sink, tub, and washing machine,” Anderson said. “This system requires special plumbing in one’s house, so it can be an expense.” >> more

Rainwater harvesting: Research bolsters case for landscaping trend - A Drexel University study shows that four major U.S. cities receive enough rainfall each year that the water, if collected, could be used by homeowners for the majority of their toilet flushes. Apparently, some homeowners are already getting the message: According to a recent American Society of Landscape Architects survey, the top trend among projects expected to be in high demand this year is rainwater harvesting. >> more

Researchers Suggest Using Recycled Rainwater To Flush Toilets - Toilet flushing accounts for one-third of all potable water use in households across the U.S. and the U.K, making it the biggest use, or waste, of water. However, environmental researchers from Drexel University found that precipitation levels are high enough in major cities like Philadelphia, New York, Seattle and Chicago that rainwater recycling could be used to flush toilets instead. This could save both natural resources and money, as it would reduce the demands for water treatment plants. >> more

February 2016

Colorado outlaws rain barrels. Can the ban be lifted? - Put a bucket under your downspout and collect rain running off your roof to water your garden. You’re an outlaw in Colorado. Critics have lambasted the state for barring this quaint eco-friendly, urban-farming technique, but to rural Coloradans devoted to prior appropriation, the water rule that the first person to take water secures rights to it into the future, rainwater harvesting should be banned. In cheering the bill’s passage, Esgar noted that people can shovel snow off their sidewalks and put the snow onto their lawns. If you can do that, she said, “Why can’t you collect rainwater and put it on your garden? >> more

Survey Reveals Top Ten Design Trends for Residential Landscape Architecture - Sustainable design is the big trend for residential landscapes, according to the 2016 Residential Landscape Architecture Trends Survey conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). The top trend—rainwater/graywater harvesting—reflects a growing consumer demand for beautiful residential landscapes that also save water. "Water issues are hot topics for many communities, and many people are turning to landscape architects for creative green infrastructure solutions," said Somerville. "Sustainable residential landscape architecture, if part of a broader integrated site design, can dramatically reduce water usage and stormwater runoff over the long term while creating a healthy residential environment." >> more

Conservation is the focus of Matrix 2.0- On Feb. 16, representatives from several local, environmentally-minded organizations, government agencies and non-profits gathered at the Pico Branch Library to present a new roadmap that will give municipalities, businesses and homeowners clear guidelines on the use of non-potable water indoors and outside. The Los Angeles Department of Public Health, City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation, City of Santa Monica Office of Sustainability and the Environment, TreePeople, Heal the Bay, and the Natural Resources Defense Council created these voluntary guidelines, known as Matrix 2.0, which officials said are the first of their kind for the county, and possibly even the state of California. >> more

Keep rainbarrels covered - Minister for Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, is advising persons engaged in rainwater harvesting, to ensure that storage facilities are properly covered so that they do not become breeding sites for mosquitoes. “I have been asking citizens to become involved in rainwater harvesting, so I’m further advising that you make adequate preparation to secure the water; that is very, very important,” he told JIS News. >> more

January 2016

Nottingham Trent University graduate helps plug key rainwater systems gap - Stormsaver's rainwater harvesting systems can be found in homes and businesses across the UK. Co-founders Lisa and Michael Farnsworth tell Rebecca Smith-Dawkins about the company's successes, challenges and plans for 2016. Fast forward 13 years and Stormsaver has created rainwater harvesting systems for more than 1,500 commercial buildings and homes in the UK, including distribution centres, bus stations, supermarkets, zoos, prisons and factories. >> more

Assessment of rainfall variability, rainwater harvesting potential and storage requirements - Rainfall variability with periodicity of 5-6 years has been demonstrated for our study area and may be attributed to tropical and extratropical factors which operate during different months, seasons and years. Rainfall variability in terms of coefficient of variation ranges from 24-39% and 26-41% for the seasons and months. Domestic rainwater harvesting has the potential to meet 27.51% -54.91% of non-potable household water demand as well as 78.34% -156.38% of household potable water demand for a six-member household. It is highly encouraged as a supplementary water source especially in rural and peri-urban areas to reduce their vulnerability to acute shortage of water infrastructure. >> more

Saving Water: Simple ways to hold on to the rain - With El Niño-related storms providing much-needed rain, why let it go down the drain? Angelenos can tap into the age-old practice of rainwater harvesting, a process that saves both water and money. The idea is to keep as much water in places where it is needed. Collecting and recycling rainwater minimizes the amount of water lost in storm drains and offers plants water that is naturally soft and free of chemicals. >> more

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