Permaculture forum: World Water Day

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Charter ATP Member
Mar 22, 2015 6:20 PM CST
2 videos from permaculture news.

MY RIVER. The Manistee flows along the back of the property where I grew up in Northern Michigan. This view is from an historic log roll used prehistorically by Ojibwe as an over look.

Thumb of 2015-03-23/hazelnut/1b463d

[Last edited by hazelnut - Mar 22, 2015 6:24 PM (+)]
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Charter ATP Member
Mar 30, 2015 6:53 PM CST

More about water from a permaculture perspective.

A Fragile Resource?

Much of current thinking (see for example 1) emphasizes the fragility of our access to water and the dangers of using too much of it.

“Save water,” we are told; the implication being “This is a finite resource – be careful of using it up!”

This notion of scarcity and wastefulness is akin to the perception of fossil fuels and their use, but when examined closely it can be seen that as a resource water behaves somewhat differently.

We use fossil fuels by burning them up; changing them into something totally different which cannot be (with current technology) reconstituted back into what it was.

Their replenishment runs on a different time scale: what we can burn in a matter of minutes is being recreated right now, but will not be ready for use, in all probability, for a few million years or so.

The water cycle, however, is on a timescale comprehensible to human lives. It does not rain oil, but the cycle of water is constantly going round and round. It is also, in spite of all the harmful substances which we fill it with, almost infinitely re-cleanable – even sewage water can be purified to become drinking water (2) – so that we can keep using it again and again.

Whatever we drink goes out of our bodies, into the soil or sea and then back up into the air again; the same goes for any water which flows away.

Using Water Well

Knowing this does not necessarily mean we should be leaving taps running all the time, or use water for things which may not be appropriate e.g. drinking water to flush toilets. It is simply a recognition that in order to truly appreciate and thus effectively manage such an important resource we need to see it as what it is and treat it accordingly. This involves respecting it as well as respecting the fact that, regardless of any appearance of scarcity, it can be found pretty much anywhere on earth.

Water makes up much of this planet and is present in large amounts in all life forms on it (3); wherever it goes, it comes back around. The only times when this becomes a problem are when we cause large unbalances in the way in which water works. For example, some groundwater exists in places where there used to be much more humidity but now there is not (known as fossil water); so when such water is used it must be at a slow enough rate that it can be replenished, or it can cause the entire water table in the area to drop and so create less of a resource (4). This is something which needs to be considered in particular in places such as the Sahara Desert, where there is a growing demand for modern water extraction techniques which are perhaps not always conscientious of water usage (5). On the other hand, if as many scientists argue (6) the ice caps are melting, then rather than running out of this resource we are in fact in for an overabundance.

From this perspective the idea of not wasting water is relevant only in terms of efficient planning and distribution.

It is physically possible for everyone to have access to water; it is simply that often the organisation of this, for many reasons including financial-based ones, does not always take everyone into account. . . ..

[Last edited by hazelnut - Apr 2, 2015 4:41 PM (+)]
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Charter ATP Member
Apr 2, 2015 4:34 PM CST
Water. Are were running out of water--or just wasting it? What are the basics of water conservation that everyone should know?

QUOTE What is the Biggest Misuse of Water?

When asked what the biggest misuse of water was, on a global scale, Glennon responded: “The biggest misuse of water is the excessive pumping of groundwater. It is most scary in India and China, which rely on large-scale, industrialized agriculture to feed their huge populations. They withdraw more groundwater than Mother Nature provides reliably each year. The aquifers in both China and India, as well as in the United States, are declining. What on earth is going to happen when this water to grow food is no longer available?”

This is pretty straightforward: the world is pumping more water from the ground than is sustainable; more than is being refilled by nature. Eventually, if things do not change, these groundwater sources will be pumped dry.

We need to change the way we are using water and the amount of water we are pulling from the ground, in addition to addressing larger ecological and climate issues that have an impact on our water supply as well, if our future generations are going to have the water they need for life itself.

[Last edited by hazelnut - Apr 2, 2015 4:36 PM (+)]
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Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Apr 2, 2015 6:03 PM CST
Thanks for posting that. A lot of food for thought.
Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we can't eat money. Cree proverb
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Apr 2, 2015 8:15 PM CST
I read several articles yesterday about Gov. Brown's Executive Order regarding water restrictions for California. The restrictions included:

For the first time in state history, the Governor has directed the State Water Resources Control Board to implement mandatory water reductions in cities and towns across California to reduce water usage by 25 percent. This savings amounts to approximately 1.5 million acre-feet of water over the next nine months, or nearly as much as is currently in Lake Oroville.

To save more water now, the order will also:

- Replace 50 million square feet of lawns throughout the state with drought tolerant landscaping in partnership with local governments;
- Direct the creation of a temporary, statewide consumer rebate program to replace old appliances with more water and energy efficient models;
- Require campuses, golf courses, cemeteries and other large landscapes to make significant cuts in water use; and
- Prohibit new homes and developments from irrigating with potable water unless water-efficient drip irrigation systems are used, and ban watering of ornamental grass on public street medians.

What I find interesting is that agriculture in California uses 80% of the water annually. His restrictions listed above aren't going to make a bit of difference in the short or long run as they actually apply to part of the remaining 20% of water users.

There was an interesting article, yesterday that I can't find today that addressed the issue of subsidence and over drawing water from the aquifers for drought relief. I did find another article that really was well written and published by the San Jose Mercury News on March 29, 2014. The COMMENTS are as informative as the article.

I kind of liked this article because it put human faces to the issue.
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.

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