Thursday, July 3, 2008

Collecting Rain

Early morning mist rose from little pockets and valleys. Just mystical.

We don't think much of collecting rain here in New England, especially after an above average rainy June. But perhaps we should since the weather pattern is unpredictable and is taking on more extreme up and down patterns. I can't help but think this could be the last good rain we have for months. It has happened before. After all we were in a drought phase for several years.

We also don't cherish water as much as other parts of the country because we have these spectacular clear rivers and streams that we take for granted. A quick step outside of New England and the rivers become silted with brown or red. However our clear rivers and lakes now have levels of mercury in them, mostly from coal burning Midwest plants, high enough to require warnings to people wanting to eat fish. Try only once a month for pregnant women and once a week otherwise. Given our governments loose levels of concern, it makes me wonder just how toxic our fish really are. So don't eat the fish.

Other parts of our country literally die for our kind of water. The southwest is fighting over water as is Georgia and Florida. The escalating heat due to climate change in the southwest is going to have very serious water issues soon. The answer seems to be water collection. but it isn't that simple.

In Australia, particularly Victoria, water collection is a really big deal. Almost every house has at least one cistern. My sister has a small vegetable farm and she has eight large cistern. People also collect water by having a little damn on the lowest level of their property. This way they are able to go long periods of time without rain and be okay, just barely. The problem with all this collection is so little is going into the ground. There are no more rivers and streams in Victoria. They have recently dried up and are filed with weeds. Their wells are drying up and Australia is in for serious water problems.

So why bother to collect rain? Because it gets back to "every little bit helps". Whether we pay for city water (more reason to collect, save money) or get water from our wells, collecting rain is one step in water conservation. Whether you live in lush New England or not, it helps for us to be less wasteful and use water that collects instead of using other sources that require treatment or use electricity. Why run your water pump when it can flow from a rain barrel? Makes sense to me.

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