Your Questions About Water Conservation Methods

Laura asks…

Does South Africa pay equivalent prices for water compared to other African countries?

i have a few questions about water conservation..

Do we (South Africans) use too much water per person compared to other places?

Are the controlling methods for using water adequate?

Is it necessary to change the way we use water in this country?

admin answers:

I am pretty sure we use more water than our neighboring countries. I have heard that soon the water problem will be more vast than our minor disagreement with Eskom, about the electricity. I think we should use water more wisely.

Joseph asks…

How quickly are we running out of clean drinking water?

In my state (NJ) they project enough drinking water only to the year 2020 (unless something is done). Dow Chemical claims they can change ocean (salt water) into drinking water, but the cost is realistically too high for normal use. Any thoughts? How important is water conservation?
litscot: It wasn’t environmental groups who said this, it was the state government

admin answers:


we should not only conserve water ,we should also collect it when it rains ,make your lawn and garden receptive to absorb water ,and not let it run off onto the street.

And cars can be washed with rain water ,it does not have to be drinking water.

Here is the whole story on the best way to conserve and harvest water and why

The summary for the garden is mulching and lowering the flower beds
having the paths high so that they form basins that absorb the water .
Read on

because there is so little that we can use

25% of the planets surface is land
75%of the surface is water and it is rising


97%of the Earths water is salt

fresh water is only 3% of all the Earths water
most of it is beyond out reach

now much ice is melting and running into the seas fresh water lost for ever.

STORAGE or Location of % of the fresh water
ice and glaziers 74%
groundwater 800 meters + 13.5 %
groundwater less than 800meters 11.o%
Lakes 0.3%
soils 0.006%
Atmospheric in circulation 0.0035%
rivers 0.03%

frozen land or permafrost is not included and represent an unavailable storage of 40%

so of the 3% about 11.6 ,is easily available to us ,in rivers, lakes and ground water surface aquifers,more and more of this is becoming contaminated

overpopulation of an extra 70 million people a year (increasing all the time )and expanding agriculture ,which uses 70% of available potable water supplies ,has brought the good(sweet) water supplies to critical levels ,some countries have been in trouble already quite a while .

Now climate change and desertification, because of irresponsible agriculture ,overgrazing and deforestation is damaging world fresh water production .

It is a good reason for concern and if we do not rectify matters by changing agricultural methods ,reforest ,stop deforestation,become more economic with water use ,stop producing more people ,stop wasting and contaminating water, we will be in serious trouble all round
and could end up looking like Mars

And these are some of the things we can do
tp conserve water use


one can connect the sink straight to the toilet cistern and so use the water twice ,first to have a shave and then to flush the toilet
also if you bend the ball valve you can regulate the level of the cistern

Always have your Grey water and Black water separate,so that the sink and shower water goes directly into the garden saving on irrigation and at the same time ,making the sewage smaller and easier to deal with ,

This also goes and irrigates the garden but via a cistern of two compartments and a French drain ,on which you plant trees,

Economic systems of irrigation, like drip irrigation
and water harvesting design, using a lot of stone walls ,that condense water in the night
and planting leafy plants ,for the same purpose,

Building wind breaks ,to counter act the drying effects of the wind and farm towards Aggro forrestal ,using as many trees as possible to limit evaporation .
Using shade nets before we have tree cover

and use MULCH

By cutting down the weeds before they produce seeds and leave them where they fall.
They will cover the ground add even more organic matter on top,(you can use saw dust,leaves green or dry),

And when you plant make a little space and plant in the mulch.this is the easiest quickest and by far most beneficial way(for the quality of you soil)to prepare the land for planting.

To prevent weeds from coming all you have to do it turn out the lights,you can even use cardboard or black plastic(this is good for strawberries because they will rot if they touch humid ground,and the bugs can get to them).

Mulch is organic material green or dry that covers the ground,the thicker the better the composting process will turn it in to black topsoil

The humidity is preserved underneath and promotes the development of worms(there exists no better compost than their excrements)and a variety of micro biotic life which together within the mulch produce more topsoil.

The mulch also keeps the ground temperature even and guards against the impact of the rain ,which would other wise brings salt to the surface if on unprotected land.

Mulch also prevents the soil from drying out because of the sun and,wind erosion.


As far as catching rain is concerned ,we do this all the time ,and have done so already since Babylonian times,and is a part of the more advanced Agriculture,that existed with the Egyptians,,Moors, Arabs and probably many more

Central ,and South American indigenous people had this idea coupled to their pyramids ,catching the water of the slopes and leading it into tanks or onto the fields .

And many others ,today we call this WATER HARVESTING.

Only Modern Man is totally extravagant with the rain water given ,and complains of the wetness ,letting it run off into the rivers lost forever ,With out even attempting to hold on to it .

And then later complains of not having water ,when times are dryer

In Permaculture the rule is to harvest water to the point of Zero runoff.
This means that all of the rain that falls on an area is absorbed by the terrain and not a drop leaves it.

By building dams,ponds or Swales, with inter connecting ditches,

If there are enough of these ;the places ,where before ,the rain water ran over the ground into the rivers and on to the sea ,in a matter of hours or days.

It now runs into absorbent dams or Swales and saturates the ground and eventually reaches subterranean water deposits ,taking many months to do so.

Or it fills up ponds that can be used for Aquaculture.

And so a convex situation that repels water is transformed in a concave ,absorbent one and turning the area in to a sponge.

In Spain and Portugal ,which still display many examples of the conquering Moorish influence one can find many remnants of Water harvesting,such as Aqueducts and tanks underneath the patios ,which collect the rain water from the roofs ,to be used in dryer times.

In Arabia ,on a large scale ,land has been shaped to catch and lead,rain water into sandy areas or to agricultural lands.sand is almost as good as dams because it absorbs water and holds it.

Here in Mexico we collect the rainwater in our school for sustainable agriculture,but it is too near Acapulco to trust the rain water for drinking ,and this holds true for most places ,so we use it for irrigation.
The rain water from a gutter runs via a filter into a tank.
In Europe in my parents house ,when i was young ,we had a rain barrel,where the water from the gutter ended up .
This was usual in those days ,but i have seen few in modern times.

We can use this action also in other ways ,
for example the roof water via a ditch can run trough the chicken house ,cleaning it and end up fertilizing the vegetable plot(this is called the creation of energy flow.

This water used to be Ok in times gone by before Air pollution ,
Today i would recommend it only for washing and irrigation

for more information on Water Harvesting
read The Permaculture designers manual by Bill Mollison,which cost about 40 dollars.
And is the best all round book you can get,on Environmental design,.(tagiari publishing, [email protected])

Sandra asks…

How many times can I reuse the same piece of toilet paper?

And what is the best conservation method? I’m trying to save the world and a few bucks.
I don’t really want to waste water washing it. Would my blowdryer be good enough?

admin answers:

Take a shower after each time you go to the bathroom, that way you know you’re clean and you don’t have to waste any toilet paper at all.

As a member of the EPA for the last twenty-one years, I can say with authority that this is the single best way to conserve toilet paper, BUT, you have to consider the water you’ll be wasting. To economize on the water, keep the drain closed to the water stays in the tub. You can then re-use this water for washing dishes or even a bath.

Good luck to you, it’s always good to see good people willing to make an effort for our environment.

Ken asks…

Can anyone tell me about common methods of water conservation in France or any part of Europe?

I want that one for my project. List me out some common methods that you follow traditionally, modern and which are absolutely new, just found by scientists.

admin answers:

Ha Ha. No water conservation takes place there.

Mandy asks…

what are the advantages & disadvanatages of captive breeding ?

& is it the best conservation method around?

admin answers:

Well, on the one hand, it doesn’t fix the problem. If a species is in decline because of habitat loss (ex. An animal needs to live in old growth forests, but timber harvest has removed almost all the old growth in a region), poaching (ex. Many animals are harvested illegally for Chinese traditional medicine– endangered species laws don’t dissuade them, because the animals are part of their culture and there is high demand for them. Many animals are endangered because they are killed for CTM), or air/water quality (ex. Amphibians are killed by chemicals and pH changes in the water, so you won’t find them in ponds near people’s yards who use pesticide or herbicide). In those cases, if an animal is endangered, and you breed them in captivity, you will never be able to put them back into the wild, because they will only die again. You would have to constantly breed them and put them back into the wild.

It also doesn’t treat conservation as an ecological system. An ecosystem is based on the interactions of many animals. If you captive breed just one, it doesn’t account for other animals. For example, the black footed ferret is critically endangered, and they have been breeding them in captivity. But the reason they are endangered is because they eat prairie dogs. Breeding black footed ferrets in captivity isn’t going to bring prairie dogs back.

Given that the goal of conservation is to conserve natural, wild ecosystems, the best method is to protect entire habitats, so all the animals will benefit. National parks are good examples of this, but you can also protect ecosystems with restrictions on chemical waste– what kinds of chemicals you can use on your yard, poop-scooping laws for dogs, septic tank restrictions, etc– and zoning laws- where you can develop houses/malls, etc.

However, captive breeding has its uses. For instance, black footed ferret captive breeding. The ferrets could not survive in the wild because there were no prairie dogs for them to eat… However, prairie dog populations are rebounding. So, because eventually there will be enough prairie dogs to sustain a ferret population, it makes sense to breed them just to keep them from going extinct, until they can be returned to the wild.

Another great success of captive breeding is with birds of prey. I’m sure you remember DDT, that pesticide which built up in the food chain and weakened the eggs of birds so much that they would break when their parents sat down to incubate them. Some eggs didn’t even have shells. When DDT was banned, there were so few birds remaining in the wild, and their nesting success was so low because of the weakened egg shells, that they were probably going to die out. They were already missing from most of their historical range. So, Tom Cade, a falconer and professor at Cornell University, started up a peregrine falcon breeding program. After the birds laid eggs, they were incubated so they couldn’t be crushed by their parents. Once they were large nestlings, they were taken to a historical peregrine nest, and volunteers fed them until they left the nest on their own. So in that case, the birds were bred in captivity, but immediately released again to the wild.

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