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August 2013 Archives

Over the years I have installed many systems and run many water tests of rainwater systems.  For one client, I tested the neighbors well water (sharing the well was an option) and her harvested rainwater.  With the exception of the presence of bacteria which is in all rainwater and surface water and easily treatable, the catchment water had significantly lower mineral content and lower pH. 

Many systems are installed purely for irrigation purposes and I am convinced this water is much healthier for our plants than typical municipal water.  I have seen no direct studies on this, although logic tells you that water containing chlorine (the most commonly used disinfection in public water systems) is not great for the soil over long periods of time.

A couple in Ruidoso, New Mexico took it one step further and came to the conclusion that the local city water was not healthy for them and with the assistance of relatives, friends, and local professionals installed a rainwater catchment system to get purer water. 

Per this article:

When Judy, a retired registered nurse, began experiencing some health issues, and Tom wasn't far behind, the couple tried to pinpoint possible causes and decided that while the village of Ruidoso's water was deemed "safe" to drink, that some of the chemicals used to arrive at that point might be contributing to their symptoms.

"We've had the water tested and it has passed with flying colors. People could do this simpler by using the village water and coming up with a lot better water by bringing it in and filtering it at certain stages to take out certain mineral and additives, and then running it through an ultraviolet light system. The unit we had installed was developed for NASA and Carl Parsons happened to buy directly from the designer."

"We both feel better, but maybe it is psychological," Tom said.

Read Full Article: 

Ruidoso couple runs house with rainwater - Health issues drove them to alternative source and treatment system

We are getting hotter and drier here in the west.  The New Normal is clearly starting. Where we end up is the open question.

As this and the recent article in the New York Times both illustrate the west is the epicenter of the change.  It is the water or the lack of it that is most apparent.  More so in the west than anywhere else. For those of us living out here, it has been  the daily news for the last several years. 

The real news is not these stories, it is the lack of noise on the impacts of a continued drought.  What are the likely scenarios for the millions that depend on this water?  What will happen to the local economies?  What actions can we be taking now to make sure we could get through droughts a decade long, or longer.  That we are experiencing a drought is old news.  What we should be doing should be the news. 

The west has experienced long droughts before.  These are nothing new.  It has caused major upheaval.  A good read on the topic is A Great Aridness by Bill deBuys. We have time to start planning and investigating alternatives.  But how much time is unknown. 

With the Colorado River experiencing record low levels, the impact will be profound to tens of millions of people if it continues for much longer.
A great snippet out of this article highlights this point:

"The last 14 years on the Colorado River, she says, have been the driest years since records began being kept in the late 1800's, and based on tree ring studies among the driest 14 year periods in the last 1,200 years.

"If you say climate change doesn't have an impact, you're smoking something," Castle concludes.

The time for trying to prove we are in a record drought is over.  It is time to start moving forward to a New Normal.


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