I was caught in Waukesha during Friday's downpour, and all that rain got me thinking: in that water-hungry area, and elsewhere for that matter, why haven't the water supply folks long ago called for the installation of water catchment systems to collect, store and apply rainwater in any number of uses?
Such devices were routine in rural areas, some still exist and rain barrels are being distributed by the MMSD in large numbers, so the concept is still alive.
Sophisticated systems are in place in plenty of areas worldwide: even the toniest homes in upscale Bermudian neighbors have them because there is precious little potable groundwater in Bermuda, but certainly plenty of rain falling on the island - - free for the collection.
There are voices in our region calling for capturing rainwater and using it where reasonable.
Longtime Waukesha County conservation activist Lisa Conley is a member of the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission's water advisory study committee,
One of two women on the 31-member committee, and the sole designated representative of the environmental community (industry and government, of course, have more), Conley has more than once pitched catchment systems as worthy of serious inclusion in the study committee's recommendations due out at the end of the year.
As low-cost, reasonable and practical are Conley's proposals, I wouldn't expect to see them given great weight in the probable committee's final recommendations wherein water conservation plans will be a supplement, a side dish, if you will, to the preferred main course:
Diverted Lake Michigan water widely piped to many communities in the region.
That recommendation will be made easier to implement when the state legislature adopts the Great Lakes Compact next week along with a crucial companion bill that will make some diversions easier to achieve for the next several years, at a minimum.
Sunday, April 27, 2008