On energy, water and the environment


Water and energy


OK, so in Sydney at the moment we have water restrictions. This means we can’t water our gardens between certain hours, and we need to have water savinf sprinkler systems etc. All good stuff. Currently our dams are below 50% capacity which is very scary – we haven’t been this low for a long time.

Now my parents live on a farm up in Queensland, and they aren’t on town water – rather they need to collect rain water and/or use a bore to pump it from underground. They have a big tank for sotring the water and they use it for everything: watering the plants, showering, cooking and yes, drinking.

Why can’t we do the same in the city? Why don’t all new developments put in a catchment tank that collects everything from the roof drainage on apartments and houses. Next, any tap around the property used for watering gardens, washing cars etc is taken from this catchment tank.

Next we could have specific pipes to bathrooms for using this water in toilets.

[Addendum: I hadn’t read today’s Domain section in the Sydney Morning Herald when I originally wrote this blog, but it has a section on new developments with water measures in it – very interesting.]

I’d probably stop here, as I don’t really want to shower in the water that falls in Sydney (the pollution can be pretty bad). And I don’t want to cook with it either. Drinking, well, sometimes I don’t even want to drink our currently supplied tap water…

But atleast our gardens would be flourishing. Oh, and having the catchment tank would lessen ever so slightly the volume of water going into our already overworked drainage system.

I haven’t investigated costs, but given that just about every farmer does this it can’t be too bad. And over time I am sure it would pay for itself in savings. And, it would mean we could water our garden anytime we liked.

Solar power

On another matter – energy – I heard on the radio the other day that some councils are going to provide incentives to implement solar power options on buildings. Seems like a good idea to me. At a minimum I’m sure our building could power all our hot water heating from a few solar panels on the roof. I’ll need to investigate costs to make a proposal to our owner’s corporation.

One problem ofcourse is that those solar panels are so bloody ugly. I’m sure someone must have invented a solar collector into normal looking roof tiles. I was discussing this with my mate Tim yesterday. He suggested we should be able to have simple roof tiles that collect the solar power and have in built connections to easily transfer it down through the tiles to a central collector. I wonder what would happen if it was struck by lightning…

Surely something like this is available?

Why aren’t we doing more to save power? The benefits are obvious, save money on energy costs, less pollution and ofcourse less use of our natural resources.

Obviously the power companies wouldn’t like their market to be lessened. But perhaps they can investigate other uses for their infrastructure such as communications, etc.

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