Water Smart Cities

There’s much we can do to combat droughts, recycle water, for one.

Droughts have  brought water shortages to the forefront, and if one lives in southern California as I do, then hearing or reading about water shortages is unavoidable. It’s also worrisome, so reading about  water smart cities was not only comforting, it pointed to what we need to do and do now. Drought are often responsible  for food insecurity, poverty and inequalities as well as for political upheaval, they were in Syria cited as a cause for the rise of the Islamic State. They also require a change of life style and a new mindset.  Let me share some of the things water smart cities need to include, things we can do. I don’t think any one is new, but when they’re put together as a package as they were in the Bloomberg article I read, they add up to pointing to answers.

Water is something we use once. We recycle plastic, but not water, so recycling water is important.  Recycling water is called greywater and greywater can be used for toilets and for landscaping, that alone accounts for a large portion of our usage. As much as 75% of domestic use of water can be reused as  grey water. Another item is for utilities companies to redesign how they charge us. The more water we use, the better for them. They need to be prevailed upon to think differently. And that would entail metering our usage differently.  Desalination is in the mix, also collecting rain water,  and although it wouldn’t amount to much collecting the water that stems from the use of air conditioning and even the mist of fog can matter. Every drop matters because any water that we use from an alternative source is water we do not take from a natural one in the environment.

We ought to have begun thinking about water smart cities decades ago. Our infrastructure and policies must change and keep pace with the need. We must now seriously think about droughts if we are to avoid one  consequence of climate change.

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