10 votes
Accepted

Can pumped water energy storage be combined with rainwater harvesting?

Water loss is not the issue, because you need a lot of water to make it work at all. Even if your dams lose 30% of their water every year, that's about 0.1% per day. System losses in the best large-...
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  • 1,297
8 votes

Why can't solar stills convert sea water into fresh water?

In effect, nature does this already. The sun heats up a patch of ocean, water evaporates and rises into the atmosphere. The vapour then condenses on airborne aerosols to form clouds which are then ...
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  • 3,207
7 votes

Is it actually possible to have a global "water shortage"

As you surmise, the problem is in cleaning/purifying the water we want to use. Desalination is extremely expensive, to the point where it's cheaper to have a war rather than build a desalination plant....
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  • 3,755
5 votes

Does it make sense to save water in cities?

It's possible that the source was talking about a practice called jetting that municipalities use to clean their sanitary sewer systems. I know one town that cleaned their system this way every other ...
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5 votes

How does one utilize the low pressure of a rain barrel?

Ok, collecting water is one thing. My first question would be "why collecting water at base level?" Just one meter (yard) higher could generate some pressure to distribute the water better. Most water ...
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  • 929
5 votes

Why can't solar stills convert sea water into fresh water?

I think this is one of the "gaping holes" you are looking for: The amount of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) in sea water is about 40,000ppm. Thus for every 1,000L of sea water distilled, you would ...
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  • 2,744
5 votes

Why can't solar stills convert sea water into fresh water?

A solar still CAN convert sea water to potable water. They are commonly included in lifeboat kits. Check the Watercone or this survival guide.
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  • 1,468
4 votes

Saving water in day-to-day life

The main thing we found is that in everything, use less. Over time you will be able to work down to quite low usage without major hassles. It sounds kinda obvious, but it works. In Melbourne (...
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  • 1,297
4 votes
Accepted

Is using copper for gutters and roofs a sustainable choice?

Availability in the long term You didn't include in your list a mention of how available copper will be in the future; this matters, for sustainability, because we can't afford to be using it for ...
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4 votes

What are the consequences of wasting water in a water-rich country?

Regardless of where you live, one or more of the following most likely applies: Damaging ecosystems by removing scarce water. If you live in an arid place, the water you waste would have been used ...
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  • 11.3k
4 votes
Accepted

What is blue, green, and grey water?

A document produced by the US Geological Survey, for what looks like a conference presentation, gives a good explanation. Green and blue water are waters from two natural water systems. Green Water is ...
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  • 3,207
3 votes
Accepted

Are aluminum sheets appropriate for rainwater catchment roof?

You've raised a few issues in your posts, so having just built a new house I'll address those I'm able to: To start with, I live in a country/area where corrugated steel roofing is the absolute norm ...
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  • 2,744
3 votes

How does one utilize the low pressure of a rain barrel?

Plant a birch tree. Run a hose from the barrel to the tree. Put a soaker hose on the hose, and set it far enough from the tree to go round once. E.g. for a 50 foot soaker hose it would about 8 feet ...
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3 votes

What are the larger-scale options for storing rainwater?

I grew up on a rural property using only rainwater. I'll walk through the calculations as an example to give a general idea of what you'll need to do. The rainfall in the region averaged about 750mm ...
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  • 598
3 votes

Sizing a stormwater detention pond

Start here: Quality Farm Dugouts When doing this for a farm, the usual calculation (Central Alberta Climate) is to plan for 2 years use, plus 2 years evaporation. Dugouts should be as deep as ...
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3 votes
Accepted

How to reduce evaporation of a dam/catchment water source?

Two technologies I know of are plastic balls and solar panels. Both are very visible, and may not be aesthetically acceptable. Shade balls are used to reduce the exposed surface area and reflect ...
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  • 2,037
2 votes

The most efficient residential water treatment?

You are working at the wrong end of the economies of scale, and you will run into serious permit, zoning, and financial issues. A better tack to take is to figure out ways to reduce your water use. ...
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2 votes

If I have a well, is gray-water really "wasted" when discharged directly in a septic system?

Gray water has grease in it. Soap etc. For this reason you need a grease pit above the holding tank. Septic tank. The water can then filter from there back into the ground. Both need cleaned regular. ...
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2 votes
Accepted

If I have a well, is gray-water really "wasted" when discharged directly in a septic system?

It seems you are correct: As long as your greywater lands in a septic system that ultimately infiltrates the greywater into the aquifer, you are not really wasting water. Also, as you indicate, ...
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  • 2,816
2 votes

How does one utilize the low pressure of a rain barrel?

The rain barrel should at least be up on some cinder blocks for some lift. If that’s not sufficient pressure you could try building a higher apparatus, but be careful - a full rain barrel will become ...
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2 votes

Are motion activated faucets more sustainable than traditional faucets?

I don't think there is a clear answer to this question. In a public environment where there is the risk of someone leaving the water running, then almost certainly yes. In a household where people ...
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2 votes

Toilet tank with both water main and waste water (underflow)

Assuming you can get the appropriate variance or exception from municipal and state health and building codes to put drain water into the toilet feed at all (which is unlikely in the United States), ...
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2 votes

What are the consequences of wasting water in a water-rich country?

Your parents taught you not to "waste water" because they paid the water bills. Thus the negative connotations associated with "wasting water" are purely (or at least overwhelmingly) economic. It ...
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  • 2,744
2 votes

Do we have a way to limit rising sea levels in a warmer global climate?

I'm afraid the answer is no. Greenland alone has enough ice to raise sea-level by 7m. That is, 7m of water spread over the oceans which cover 71% of the Earth's surface. The flow of Alpine glaciers ...
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  • 961
2 votes

Can Hydroponic products be termed as organic food?

It depends on where you live. In many countries regulations determine when you are allowed to label a product as 'organic', but there are countries where the term organic is not subject to any laws. ...
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  • 14.1k
1 vote
Accepted

Are motion activated faucets more sustainable than traditional faucets?

I was looking into this question for a project at work and found some research studies addressing water savings from automated faucets. Automated faucets result in increased water and energy usage, ...
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  • 11.3k
1 vote

Are aluminum sheets appropriate for rainwater catchment roof?

As it turns there are several solutions. And as I've discovered, the headline is: aluminum is probably fine. HOWEVER ... in my case I think it will be cost-prohibitive, since a 4x8 sheet costs ~$100. ...
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1 vote

How can I build an ecologically conscious dam on a small brook?

Currently, if I understand correctly, the pool overflows into the brook with sufficient flow for fish to escape and to maintain water quality in the pond. Raising the level of the pond will only ...
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1 vote

If I have a well, is gray-water really "wasted" when discharged directly in a septic system?

The main problem with recharging an aquifer with grey water is contamination, or further contamination of the water in the aquifer. If the aquifer is the island's sole source of drinking water it is ...
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  • 3,207
1 vote

Is a sump tank necessary for my proposed aquaponics system?

You are correct in that a separate sump tank is not necessary. In these systems, the tank simply becomes the sump. The water level difference depends on the dimensions of the 3500 gallon tank As long ...
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