Saturday, April 2, 2011


Miami occupies a thin strip of land between two great aqueous reserves, the Everglades National Park and the Biscayne National Park, and its subtropical climate ensures us about five feet of rainfall annually. That's more than Seattle (though ours tends to fall in torrential, fifteen-minute afternoon bursts in the summer). And yet, we don't have enough water.

We'll blog more about the problems with our water supply later. For now, suffice to say that large-scale policy (draining the everglades) and everyday wastefulness (lawns) have created a situation where a city with ample natural supplies of water has to issue watering restrictions.

We're taking several steps to reduce our water use dramatically. In addition to conserving water through appliances and fixtures built to WaterSense standards (or better), we're going to harvest and filter rainwater and air conditioning condensate to supplement our drinking water, and we're going to filter bath water and use it to flush our toilets. We will also avoid landscaping that requires irrigation (other than food crops!). All told, we should end up using only about one-third of the water that a typical family of four consumes.

In future posts, we'll discuss the rainwater harvesting and filtration system, and the graywater system for reusing bath water (both purchased and on their way to Miami). We'll also talk a little about plumbing fixtures, appliances, landscape and, interestingly, the positive effect energy conservation has on water supplies.

update: Lydia's watercolor of the Everglades ecosystem:

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