The water crisis that is upon us now is as severe as and even more dangerous than the oil shortage currently plaguing our nation. Our cities are doing battle in court over rights and amounts of water drawn from shared sources such as lakes and rivers. Rain water harvesting is an ancient and viable solution to part of this problem since much of the water in use by the populace is not, in fact, drinking water but water used for lawns and bathrooms. The answer is literally falling from the sky, simply waiting to be utilized.
Wahaso’s analysis of research done by the National Resources Defense Council and the Ceres group yielded a list of top ten cities in danger of going dry. Some of these were obvious, such as Houston, San Antonio, and Las Vegas, but others were far more surprising. Orlando, Florida and Atlanta, Georgia also made the cut due to the trifles of legal battles, as neighboring states and cities fight over use of the same water supply. Florida’s Aquifer is diminishing and a cap on the amount of water that the city of Orlando can pull for use would make sense. However, the Orlando’s population is growing so fast that a limit would cause severe water shortages for the city. Meanwhile Atlanta is fighting for the rights to draw water from Lake Lanier, a process which was made illegal in federal court as a result of the arguments from neighboring states.
Wahaso’s harvesting systems make it possible for commercial businesses to capture and use rainwater which can greatly reduce the amount of municpal water used. These systems can supply water for non-potable uses such as flushing toilets, which accounts for up to 65% of the total water usage in a commercial building. Average toilets use about 6.5 gallons per flush, with newer, more economic models using about 3.5 gallons per flush. Imagine the amount of savings available through these rainwater collection systems given the number of toilets each commercial building houses. It would leave more water for the city and more money the bottom line.
The importance of rain water collection is an idea that is spreading. For example, the Public Building Commission of Chicago created the Water Reuse Handbook, outlining the highly advanced system developed by Wahaso for the Harold Washington Social Security Building, which provides 800,000 gallons to the premises every year. Green building programs such as LEED are providing fantastic incentives by awarding points toward certification for water recycling . Cities looking toward a sustainable future need to consider incorporating more water reuse in order to conserve water and save money.