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Author Topic: Water Police  (Read 1116 times)

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Mr. Schlinky

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Water Police
« on: July 29, 2009, 10:38:07 AM »

I was just listening to the 7/28 show, since I'm not on a schedule that makes listening or calling live. I took particular interest in the Texas water discussion, as it is one of my "pet" topics. I had several thoughts that I thought I might share.

I lived in central California in the late 80's, during an "unprecedented" drought. Most homes in the area in which I lived had installed lawn sprinklers, but could not use them due to "mandatory water restrictions" which also prevented car washing, and even watering a home vegetable garden. At the same time the gov't hacks admitted that 75% or more of the potable water was going to either agriculture or industrial use. It seems that despite market forces an opportunities, once again the side with the most lobbyists won and residential use was the only way to get a water "abuse" fine. It struck me as odd even in my-then statist opinion that homeowners who were obviously willing and able to pay a much higher price for water they desired to use for their own purposes were singled out because the agriculture and industrial lobbyists were able to get their constituents a free pass to continue wasteful use of potable water. This thought stuck in my mind, and has guided my thought process into water usage (in the US at least).

Years later, I came across a book, The Humanure Handbook (available free online at http://www.jenkinspublishing.com/humanure.html. I realize that many people have an extreme aversion to their own poop, and we can only blame the undeniable advances of sanitary sewer systems and misunderstanding of government propaganda for their discomfort. I realize that composting human waste yourself is not for everyone, but think about the insanity of taking 1.5 gallons of potable drinking water to merely rid your home of your own excrement. Technology has progressed to where we no longer need the water, or you could even revert to the state of having an outhouse (or "inhouse" as the book describes) to rid ourselves of our waste products. I know several people who have instituted the practices in the book, and none of them are back-to-nature hippies of any sort. For me, it's more the waste of energy of treating water to a level where it's safe to drink, then using it to flush poop down a pipe.

Technology now exists, and is not prohibitively expensive to extract potable water from many sources. Even the air conditioning units in places such as Texas could be used to provide water for flushing toilets or washing clothes, if not for drinking. I have heard of several places in the US where ordinances and laws have been enacted to prevent or deter the collection of rainwater for non-potable use, such as laundry or watering gardens/lawns.

As I sit here in Okinawa, Japan on vacation, I look around at the water tanks on the roof of every building. There is sometimes a severe water shortage here, and the tanks provide a necessary "slack" in the system if the water company is unable to provide delivery temporarily. This also ties in with Mark's point about "gouging" laws during disasters, which in my opinion only encourage people to not prepare ahead of time and thereby increase their reliance on government supplies in the aftermath. I won't even get into the building construction here, as opposed to say, Florida or Louisiana. Suffice to say that the last time I was here, I slept soundly through a typhoon with 150mph+ winds with no damage to our home, as well as the fact that neither the power nor the cable TV went out at all. The hardest part about preparing for a major storm here is getting to the video store to rent the new releases before everyone else. Market forces have driven the people here to construct their buildings in a manner that allows them to weather very severe storms almost entirely without damage.

Thus ends my rant on poop and water. I will now return to my balcony where I continue to contemplate the weirdness of my big toes.  :D


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Re: Water Police
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2009, 10:08:23 PM »

Excellent info and insight!  I'm in WI, and thankfully no water shortages here.
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