According to a study of water use in the U.S., the average water user saw rates rise 5.5% in 2011 versus 2010.
However, in several cities, water and sewer rate increases were considerably higher:
Indianapolis – up 12 percent
Kansas City – up 15.3 percent
Atlanta – up 12 percent
Seattle – up 11 percent
Portland – up 9 percent
New York City – up 7.5 percent
As water and sewer rates go up, the value of water reuse technologies increase and the payback period decreases.
Water reuse reduces potable water reuse by an average of 67 percent.
For every 1,000 square feet of roof top, rainwater harvesting can capture 623 gallons of water for every inch of rain. Without any treatment, this water is ideal for a number of reasons:
Rainwater is free. The only cost is for collection, conveyance, filtration, storage and the use of the system with minimal operation and maintenance.
The end use of the harvested water is close to the source, eliminating the need for complex and costly distribution systems.
Rainwater provides a water source when other sources or water are of poor quality or are limited.
Rainwater has zero hardness. This helps prevent scale on appliances thereby extending their useful life. It doesn't spot cars.
Rainwater eliminates the need for a water softener and the salts added during the softening process.
Rainwater is superior for plant water and landscape irrigation.
Using rainwater reduces demand on potable water supplies thus helping utilities reduce demand stresses and delays expensive expansion of existing water treatment plants.
Rainwater harvesting systems will reduce the volume of storm water runoff and the impact on local erosion, pollutant and hydraulic loads. If we had enough rainwater harvesting systems in place, we wouldn't need to worry about flooding the wastewater treatment system during a thunderstorm.
Reusing harvested rainwater can reduce potable water use by 50 to 90 percent. This savings is realized by a 50 to 90 percent reduction in water bills for homes and businesses alike.
So, how big is your roof?
What is the average annual rainfall where you live?
How many gallons of water do you use in a year that could be replaced with rainwater?
Tom Smith is the former director of operations and marketing at Anua. Tom is driving demand for wastewater treatment, water reuse, rainwater harvesting and odor/VOC control solutions. He has a B.A. from Duke University and an MBA from the Fuqua School of Business.