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There is a conflict of interest between gardening requirements and stormwater requirements: Stormwater barrels should be kept empty, garden barrels should be kept full. Though a rain barrel or tank could make a useful water retention device, it loses its value as a stormwater load-reduction mechanism when you retain the water for gardening or other ...


11

Short Answer First of all, let me say that I love rain barrels, and have them installed at both homes I've owned (both older homes that are already fully landscaped). I think rain barrels are great water saving devices, and can provide some buffer against run-off. They're also cheap and easy to install, and can often repurpose existing containers. However, ...


10

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-scale systems are about 20%. In other words, 70-80% efficiency of large scale systems (wikipedia). The big issue, though, is likely to be making it work at all. ...


8

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 moved by winds and given the correct atmospheric conditions, rain falls. To produce significant amounts of water from a solar still would require either an ...


8

I went through this a few years ago and wrote it up on my website. Prices and links are all Australian, but the idea stands. The big discovery for me was that there are people who are in the business of finding waterproof drums and reselling them. If you can find one of those in your area they will offer a range of shapes and sizes, and possibly trade-off a ...


7

There is this report that explores the water usage in the Sydney area. Especially the statistical tables in the appendix might give you the answers that you are looking for. They categorise the different groups of people into bins depending on their water usage in kL per year. A couple of categories that fit your questions are: single person, single ...


7

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. This is currently most obvious in the middle east but changes to the Indian Ocean monsoon could have dramatic effects all around that area. India is working ...


5

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 year.


5

I've found an abundance of ~50 gal. food grade barrels which I use for rain barrels on Craigslist and other local papers etc. I certainly consider this up-cycled and by the time you spend making another type of container water tight, the small cost far outweighs this in my experience. Further, these containers come with a threaded, 2-piece screw type lid. ...


5

I found this page that contains a link to a MSc dissertation on the Pulser pump. The dissertation describes 2 experiments with Pulser pumps and shows that the efficiency is around 1% at best (page 56) and that the author found ...inflow, pumping height and the number of riser pipes to be critical variables. It was also discovered that there is potential for ...


5

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 have 40L of solids left behind after distillation. The amount of room left for water (i.e. the capacity of the 'hole') would thus decrease by 4% each time it was ...


5

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


5

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 could be collected at 2 meters (yards) next to gutter. Then a lot of applications could follow. Probably a pressure washer will not require too much input ...


4

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 (Australia) during a major drought they introduced "target 155", or 155 litres of water per person per day. It's possible to do better, and from that article: Go dual ...


4

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 guttering if we're about to run out of copper ore. It is a very important metal for other purposes, such as electrical components. Wikipedia has a good article on ...


4

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 somewhere else. Note this may also apply in areas that don't meet the definition of arid, but are experiencing drought conditions. Damaging ecosystems by ...


4

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 from unsaturated natural water sources, such as soils. One way to think of it is, green water is easily available to and is used green plants. Blue Water is ...


3

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 and has been for over half a century. In my town less than 1% of roofs are clad in anything else. Everyone collects rainwater. Everyone uses that rainwater. ...


3

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 practical to excavate to minimize surface area. That usually translates into 15 to 18 feet which is what most trackhoes can handle. Here a trackhoe costs you ...


3

You can seal a pond by putting pigs in it. They'll compact the bottom so much that it stops leaking. It may take a few years though. See http://www.makeitmissoula.com/2012/07/paul-wheaton-can-pigs-build-ponds/


3

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 pa (temperate rainforest area). The water tank was (using imperial measurements) 20' diameter and 6' deep, for a total volume (in roundish numbers) of 1885 ...


3

I suppose as with most things it depends (climate, precipitation, erosion factors, season, etc.) But I can't imagine a scenario in which I would rather have rain-barrels instead of say a rain-garden with water absorbing swails on contour. Or better yet a "Natural Swimming Pool" or "Plunge Pool"! On the advantages of a rain garden over rain barrels: ...


3

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 from the trunk. Bury the hose 6" down. Now everytime it rains, the birch gets water delivered straight to it's roots. (I mention this, because birch trees ...


3

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 sunlight. They're used in LA for example. Floating solar panels are expensive but of course produce power, and more efficiently than on neighbouring land because ...


2

I can't find any focusing on USA data in a short search, but if you're looking for general use patters based on factors there are a number of data driven models available. They may be a good place to start looking- after all, they rely on data! Household water use behavior: An integrated model Classifying households for water demand forecasting using ...


2

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. Get/build a composting toilet. This eliminates roughly 1/2 your domestic water use. For the males, have a urinal that connects directly to waste line. ...


2

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. No overflow. I live on a island also. Our water is charcoal filtered for the tap. Some what like America used in the 60s. Our well water I do not drink. ...


2

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, irrigation would be an other issue due to evapotranspiration. What I don't know is how the freshwater treatment on your island works. If, as you say, there's a ...


2

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), the low cost solution uses a combination of height (which fluid systems use all the time to create pressure differentials) and a second tank. There are a few ...


2

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 can be taught and trusted to use water respectfully, especially hot water, then probably no, because the negligible resources saved is likely to be offset by the ...


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