The Pyramid of New Water Sources

The Pyramid of New Water Sources

Today is World Water Day and it just so happens that Jerry Yudelson, noted green building authority and author, has released a new conceptual tool to help people understand where water will come from in the future.  The tool mimics the popular Pyramid of Conservation used by Minnesota Power and explains water sourcing in ten increasingly expensive and complex steps.As shown at the base of the pyramid, it’s easy and relatively cheap to use less water.  It’s a lot more complicated and expensive to desalinate ocean water for human consumption. 

Here are the ten steps:

  • Behavior – education, audit, water pricing, conservation, construction codes
  • Low-cost/no-cost – leaks, aerators, low-flow showerheads, shower timers
  • Irrigation – native or adaptive landscape, drip systems, web-based irrigation, sub-metering
  • Hygiene – retrofits, low-flow toilets, water-free urinals, rebate programs
  • Appliances – dishwasher, clothes washer, water softener
  • Extreme Makeover – compost toilets, hardscape, no irrigation, on-site black water reuse
  • Water Heating – solar water heating, hot water loop, efficient water heater
  • On-site Reuse – rainwater collection, gray water, irrigation
  • Off-site Reuse – sewer mining, purple pipe systems
  • Desalination, New Water Sources

Of course, some of these can be done at home (i.e., retrofits, water-saving appliances, water heating), while require a larger effort (i.e., desalination, off-site reuse).

Water is a precious resource that must be protected, and this is a primer to get that started.  All in all, this is a straight-forward, dead-simple graphic that can help us evaluate how to do that.

(Article Source: Jetson Green an excellent source for energy and resource-saving ideas)

There are 2 comments for this article
  1. Central Heating Installation at 6 h 32 min

    Water conservation makes perfect sense but here’s an interesting fact I picked up recently: Archaeologists were curious why essentially fertile land was strewn with surface rocks – It turns out that the rocks helped capture and retain water in the soil while providing a thermal store that improved plant growth

    • vmartin at 14 h 51 min

      Thanks for your comment, Marcus! I actually recently watched a 2006 Russell Crowe movie “A Good Year” that illustrated this very point. A particular vineyard was strewn with limestone that had a very beneficial effect on the grapes.

      I sometimes find it amusing that the new building “technologies” that are becoming mainstream have quite the archaelogical history. What’s old is new again!

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