Growing up in SA, in the 70’s and 80’s I learnt that “we live in the driest state in the driest continent on earth”? Guess what, it’s not true….we are the driest state in Australia but Antarctica has less rainfall. If we talk run-off, available freshwater or driest inhabitated continent then we are back on top….Yey! Nit pickiness aside, basically its hot here and there ain’t much rainfall (about 500 mm a year on average in Adelaide) and its predicted to get worse. CSIRO, BOM and many other respected scientists predict that out rainfall could decrease by another 30% in not much time at all. That would leave us with 350mm per year people! What’s worse, evaporation can cause us to lose up to 1700mm of water per year (on average)…but let’s not despair, if we are smart we can still use what we have surprisingly productively.
Maximising water caught where we live or work is a great start. We can do this in tanks or in our soils, which have way more capacity than a tank. Most soils we (us humans) have messed with a pretty average at best and waste water like a bad investment wastes you hard earned cash. Increasing your soils water harvesting potential is not hard to do. Is it worth the effort? Some might think otherwise but I am convinced it does.
Apart from anything else, here in SA we cart mains water over greater distances than any other Australian state and therefore have the highest mains water charges in the country. Do you think this supply of water will be getting any cheaper, reliable or have less impact on the environment anytime soon. I don’t think so!
So if we caught more water what could we do with it all? Quench our thirst…wash the filth from our bodies…sure. On top of that how about –
- Reduce our water bills
- Grow healthy food
- Shade our properties, buildings and schools and help save energy
- Create natural air conditioning near houses and in streets and suburbs using evapotranspiration (that’s the evaporation of water from plants)
- Create ponds and water features that beautify environments, create habitat for wildlife and help us relax
- Generate urban agricultural and processing industries that use and recycle water,
- Increase the beauty of the world, rehabilitate environments at scale and sustain life
- Create a craze like the “ice bucket” challenge (what happened to that?)
I’m putting it out there, we all need to do more in terms of better using one of our most precious resources. Stick with me and I will tell you how.