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Monday, December 13, 2010

Signs of the Tide Coverage

The recent Coastkeeper Event was written up here:



Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Drought Tolerant Fruit Plants

Here is a great overview of several drought tolerant trees and plants that we can use to supplement our food supply and don't take large amounts of water, courtesy of the Rare Fruit Growers Society. It shows you don't just have to use cactus and native ornamentals in a drought tolerant garden.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Rainwater Conversations in San Diego.

I recently attended a Rainwater Symposium put on by the city of San Diego. (check out the recent article) They outlined the rain barrel program in L.A., the pilot program they are doing here, and the technology and politics of Australia's rainwater programs. I'm excited about the rash of recent conversations about water here. However, I'm frustrated that we can't seem to pair up storm water pollution prevention and water supply augmentation. The rain barrel pilot program here is put on by the storm water department to mitigate storm water pollution, however if the county water authority could participate in order to create more local water supply, we wouldn't have 55 gallon barrels at these pilot sites all over the county, we would have thousands of gallons of storage and be making a real difference on both ends.

On the other hand, I attended a Water Summit last week which was put on by Coastkeeper. (check out the article). I was very excited to see some of our state legislators being given real information about opportunities to change our mindset about water. At the meeting it was discussed that there are problems with the different agencies working together and that to implement Low Impact Development strategies such as greywater/rainwater harvesting, green streets, etc we really need to have our different agencies working together. We also need some push here in San Diego to create these changes. Since they aren't driven by profit, it's not well understood who will take up the torch. So, I guess that leaves us grass rooters to continue our work. I applaud Coastkeeper's Bruce Reznik for recognizing the significance of these issues and bringing knowledgeable people together to create a conversation!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Latest Greywater Guidelines

This is the latest release of information pertaining to greywater permitting and regulations from the City of San Diego Development Services:

Please write your local council member about the importance of this simple technology. Many are already interested! Please ask them to increase public awareness and education about how to implement greywater safely. Also, let them know that you don't want greywater to be a luxury item, with pricey permitting fees and complex regulations that are difficult to interpret and implement on your own. Let them know that Arizona is doing it widely, safely, easily, and effectively. We don't need to reinvent the wheel.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Greywater Soaps

What soaps and products can I use with my greywater system?
Plant friendly products are key when reusing your greywater. All products shouldbe biodegradable and non-toxic. In addition, they should be free of salt (sodium) and boron (borax), two common ingredients that are non-toxic to people but are harmful to plants and/or the soil. Chlorine bleach is also harmful to plants and should be diverted with any other harmful products to the sewer or septic by switching the 3-way valve.
Hydrogen peroxide bleaches are less harmful and can be used instead of chlorine. Another consideration with cleaning and beauty products is their affect on the pH of the water. While many soaps do not change the pH, some do. In general, liquid soaps do not change the pH, while bar soaps make the water very basic (opposite of acidic). Certain acid loving plants may not be happy with this kind of water. If you're uncertain if the pH is being affected choose plants that are not acid loving to irrigate. Acid loving plants include ferns, rhodedendrons, and blueberries.
Laundry Detergent:

Oasis Laundry Detergent (liquid), ECOS liquid detergent, and Dr. Bronners liquid soap, Ecover Chlorine free liquid, Kirkland Signature Laundry Detergent. Please note that while Trader Joe's Laundry Detergent says "greywater friendly", it does contain salts which makes it not ideal for greywater use.
There are also soap alternatives that are greywater friendly, like soap nuts, and "wonder balls".

For Sinks (dishes and hands)

Biopac All Purpose Cleaner, any natural liquid or bar soap,
BioKleen (can be found at most Henry's, People's Co-op, Windmill Farms),

Ingredients: Water, Saponified Organic Coconut & Organic Olve Oils (w/ Retained Glycerin), Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Citric Adic, Vitamin E.
No detergents, 100% Vegan

Body Products
Read the ingredients! Visit the Cosmetic Database a project of the Environmental Working Group and enter products to see how they rate for toxicity.
Aubrey Organics is a common brand that is greywater friendly.
Avalon Shampoos and Conditioners.

Burt’s Bees Very Volumizing Pomegranate & Soy Shampoo
Ingredients: Water, decyl & lauryl glucosides (natural coconut oil, corn starch & sugar soap blend), coco betaine (coconut oil moisturizer), coco-glucoside & glyceryl oleate (natural sunflower & coconut oil soap blend), honey, soy protein, vegetable glycerine, sucrose ester (sugar moisturizer), betaine (sugar beet), glucose (sugar), fragrance, pomegranate extract, moringa seed extract, soy amino acid, xanthan gum (natural thickener), citric acid, glucose oxidase & lactoperoxidase (natural preservative)
Glycerine Bar Soaps are better than other bar soaps which are usually made with lye.

Source: http://legacyla.net/transformation/?p=270

Monday, June 7, 2010

Latest San Diego County Greywater Regulations

San Diego County now has a comprehensive FAQ sheet and specific requirements, definitions, and rules for greywater systems. Also, the contact for the city is Jose Salcedo, Associate Mechanical Engineer in DSD, at 619 446 5080.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Story of Bottled Water

This is a great short film! Along the lines of the Story of Stuff, but for water. It's so important we all participate in every aspect of water conservation, and to understand what we need to do, we should educate ourselves and spread the message!

The Story of Bottled Water

Posted using ShareThis

Article in Edible San Diego

Here is an article in the Spring Issue of Edible San Diego that I was featured in.

Water You Doing, People's Post

Andrew Reiff of The People's Post put together a video about greywater/rainwater harvesting.

Catching The Rain

Urban Homesteading Work Party and Earth Fired Pizza

Come help with annual maintenance and updating at my water harvesting homestead in Talmadge. We will be working on updating irrigation, planting, cob touch ups on chicken coop and benches, tree trimming, greywater system redesign, and more! Learn about cob building, greywater harvesting, urban crop production, chicken husbandry, composting, irrigation essentials. Meet other interested members of your community. I will provide snacks, drinks and the best earth fired pizza you ever tried! Bring a shovel if you have one, and a pizza topping! Please RSVP to brook@h2o-me.com or 619.964.4838 by Thursday, May 20 so I can have enough supplies on hand! I look forward to sharing a day of hard work and community with you!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Monday, March 8, 2010

frye lights

Councilmember Donna Frye is taking an interest in greywater: check out her latest Frye Lights newsletter, page 2

California looks to Australia for lessons on water management

Here is a great article for us to understand how far we have yet to go in our efforts to improve our water systems. See some interesting highlights below.

Follow the link to find the whole article article:

"Solorio pointed to Australia's success at reducing per capita water use to 30 to 50 gallons a day, compared with about 180 gallons in California. Much of this savings has come from reducing and banning outdoor watering; capturing rainwater; installing dual plumbing in homes - one line for potable water and one line for recycled water; and mass use of water efficient appliances and dual-flush toilets."

"For years, water agencies in Southern California have developed sophisticated and well-engineered systems to bring water from as far away as Wyoming. The goal was to make residents unaware that the region "had a very serious problem with water," including periodic droughts, Brick said."

"One of the most important, and politically challenging, changes Australia made to deal with its drought was to its government structure." Water is controlled by the FEDERAL Government!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bottled Water is Not Wise

Check out Tapped, the movie!

Is access to clean drinking water a basic human right, or a commodity that should be bought and sold like any other article of commerce? Stephanie Soechtig's debut feature is an unflinching examination of the big business of bottled water. From the producers of Who Killed the Electric Car and I.O.U.S.A., this timely documentary is a behind-the-scenes look into the unregulated and unseen world of an industry that aims to privatize and sell back the one resource that ought never to become a commodity: our water. From the plastic production to the ocean in which so many of these bottles end up, this inspiring documentary trails the path of the bottled water industry and the communities which were the unwitting chips on the table. A powerful portrait of the lives affected by the bottled water industry, this revelatory film features those caught at the intersection of big business and the public's right to water.

Learn about how to clean up your tap water and avoid harmful chemicals in bottled water

Read more about the "Take Back the Tap" campaign: