One wa­ter

Home - Santa Fe Real Estate Guide - - WATERENERGYNEXUS - DOUG PUSHARD

Wa­ter is wa­ter. Pre­vi­ously, with­out tech­nol­ogy, we needed to treat types of wa­ter dif­fer­ently. Grey­wa­ter, black­wa­ter, stormwa­ter, rain­wa­ter, river and well wa­ter are all wa­ter. We need to stop think­ing some are un­us­able.

We think of some types of wa­ter (grey­wa­ter, black­wa­ter, and stormwa­ter) as waste and others (well and river wa­ter) as suit­able for drink­ing, but en­vi­ron­men­tal pol­lu­tants can­make well and river wa­ter un­safe. With to­day’s tech­nol­ogy, all wa­ters are use­ful.

Sin­ga­pore, a county with lim­ited ac­cess to nat­u­ral wa­ter sources, is lead­ing the wa­ter-re­cy­cle charge. Un­til re­cently Sin­ga­pore shipped in drink­ing wa­ter by ocean tankers! In 2002, the na­tion com­mis­sioned its first re­claimed-wa­ter plant. They called the prod­uct NEWater. It is avail­able through­out the is­land. Wa­ter is re­treated and used again and again. Sin­ga­pore is now viewed as a world leader for wa­ter re­cy­cling tech­nol­ogy.

The re­cent Next Gen­er­a­tionWater Sum­mit held in Santa Fe ex­plored this is­sue for the arid west. In the United States, wa­ter has many clas­si­fi­ca­tions and is man­aged by city, county, state, and fed­eral agen­cies. Each man­age­ment group has a dif­fer­ent set of re­use rules. This has cre­ated a bar­rier for ef­fi­ciently reusing wa­ter. The Sum­mit brought speak­ers from across the U.S. to dis­cuss how re­cy­cled wa­ter is be­ing used for­mul­ti­ple pur­poses. Case stud­ies prove there is no such thing as waste wa­ter. Lo­cal­i­ties choose to clas­sify wa­ter as waste and then push to find new sup­plies of wa­ter.

In the sum­mit’s key­note ad­dress, Ed Mazria dis­cussed the im­por­tance of en­ergy sav­ings in build­ing de­sign. Now in the 21st cen­tury it is pos­si­ble to model and pre­dict how much en­ergy new build­ings will uti­lize. These met­rics help re­duce en­ergy use in the build­ing sec­tor. The same should be true for­wa­ter sav­ings. There have been no met­rics to mea­sure wa­ter. How do you save some­thing if you have no idea on how much is be­ing used? That is the pur­pose of Santa Fe’s new tool, the Wa­ter Ef­fi­ciency Rat­ing Score (WERS) sys­tem.

The City of Santa Fe has adopted WERS into the build­ing code. This tool mea­sures wa­ter us­age in new homes. Work­ing with the build­ing com­mu­nity, the city will mon­i­tor the ef­fort and cost it takes for builders to meet the re­quired score of 70. The city is also work­ing with the de­vel­op­ers of this tool, mak­ing it easier and more ac­cu­rate. No tool is per­fect at the start and the city is pro­vid­ing on­go­ing feed­back. Since its adop­tion in March 2017, over 50 homes are in theWERS cer­ti­fi­ca­tion process. So far every builder has ob­tained a pre­lim­i­nary score of 70 or bet­ter. The State of Florida looks to be the next to in­clude this tool in it’s statewide build­ing code.

Mea­sur­ing means im­prove­ment. The city should be ap­plauded for tak­ing this ac­tion. We all knowwa­ter is crit­i­cal to our sur­vival. By mea­sur­ing what we use we can guar­an­tee a sup­ply that will last us for gen­er­a­tions. Wa­ter is wa­ter! All­wa­ter is valu­able!

Doug Pushard, founder of the web­site www.Har­, has de­signed and in­stalled res­i­den­tial rain­wa­ter sys­tems for over a decade. He is a mem­ber of the Santa FeWater Con­ser­va­tion Com­mit­tee, a life­time mem­ber of the Amer­i­can Rain­wa­ter Catch­ment Sys­tems As­so­ci­a­tion, and an EPAWaterSense Part­ner. He can be reached at doug@Har­

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