Radical Water Solutions

Understanding Water, and Practices for Getting the Most From Every Precious Drop, from Before It Enters Your House to After It Leaves

Unnarrated 52-slide PowerPoint presentation 32MB

Same presentation, as a PDF 8MB

Slightly different version of this presentation, with emphasis on conventional power plants’ demands for water, changing paradigms, and action items for concerned citizens. Narrated 19 minute video.

This presentation focuses on potable water supply, use, and re-use. Not covered: storm runoff management, with a close look at cultural and community challenges, not individual solutions because most of us can and are figuring out these solutions on an individual level already. The most important challenges are the larger systemic ones.

Challenges: Practical and Political

Rain Catch

  • Distribution is difficult; low pressure
  • Cannot be connected to the City’s potable water supply.
  • Typical household requirement is 20,000 to 30,000 gallons of storage. Estimated cost: $25,000 per house.

Gray Water Reuse

  • Regulated by both TCEQ (30 TAC 285.80 to 285.81) and City of Austin (Chapter 16 Part 1 of the 2009 Uniform Plumbing Code).
  • City of Austin regulations require: pipe laid beneath 10 inches of soil; requires 3 redundant zones; requires discharge into a gravel bed.
  • Plumbers are not familiar with the systems, nor with the soil and vegetation characteristics that determine an effective design.
  • Lack of staff experience at both City and State levels.

Composting Toilets

  • Like graywater, these systems are regulated by TCEQ and City of Austin.
  • Prohibited in the City of Austin within 100 feet of a wastewater sewer line.
  • Regulations require that the system be certified by the National Sanitation Federation.
  • Lack of staff experience at both City and State levels.
  • If you have a system on more than 10-acres, it requires no permit.