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And so it begins

2009/06/02

So one of the ways we are encouraged to conserve water and help mitigate polluted runoff to surface water is to install a rain barrel. If you haven’t seen one, it’s a 50 gallon (usually) plastic barrel attached to your downspout to collect rain off your roof. There’s a spout at the base so that you can run a hose and use the collected water later to water your lawn or garden or what have you. That’s the benefit to you. It also reduces the amount of runoff going down the street to the storm sewers. That runoff picks up whatever you sprayed on your lawn, like herbicides or excess fertilizer, then picks up the crud from the streets, like oil from your car. It sounds like a win-win situation right?

This is not so funny

This is not so funny

This is an ad for a festival in Kuala Lumpur, but it could just as easily be anywhere. Such as Colorado. Which is funny because now people are starting to fight over who has rights to that water coming off your roof. Because if you catch it, the water isn’t getting into the system the same way it was before, leaving the downstream users crying foul. Some of those downstream users happen to be in California which is experiencing some pretty severe drought right now. 

Hate to say it, but banning rain barrels will not resolve this situation in any meaningful way. As long as people keep moving out west and as long as the EPA and other planning entities ignore all evidence regarding the long-term sustainability of those new communities, there will be water problems. Much tougher decisions will have to be made, sooner rather than later.

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