Personal Proactive Solutions to the Water Crisis

Ron Duncan is deeply concerned about water availability in the world, in California and in his hometown of Soquel, near Santa Cruz. It is the most important life and death issue worldwide and in many third world countries, women spend hours each day carrying water jugs – and the water is unsafe and there are no sanitary facilities to prevent disease.

Although the situation in Soquel does not compare to parts of Africa, the situation is dire. Between 1960 and 2000, the US water consumption doubled but the amount of available water stayed the same.

In Haiti, after the earthquake, there was water to drink but no toilets or showers. And cholera broke out as a result.

And in the US, even where there is plenty of cheap, safe water, people don’t drink enough.  In the US, the average person uses 180 gallons of water a day, mostly in the bathroom and toilet. In recent years, toilet tanks have gotten smaller, which has saved much water. There are also now “two-flush” toilets that use more or less water depending on what is being flushed.

Ron does not believe in sink garbage disposals.

There are inventions coming out that use recycled shower water for the first phase of a laundry load, and then recycled the rinse water to the lawn. This was just legalized in California.

Ron also advocates getting rid of lawns. The average California sprinkles five feet of water a year on their lawn.

Ground water in the US is dropping rapidly and not being recharged. People don’t tend to worry about it because they can’t see it.

Other tips – hand water your lawn. 50% of sprinkler water evaporates. Or try native cover plants (weeds) instead of grass.

Non-water (incineration) toilets are coming!


(Ecology and the environment; Water and sanitation; 2010)


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