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So some of this may be a bit out there. But since we are now beginning to hear talk about water desalinization plants in California, I am wondering if there might be some alternatives in terms of creating more non potable systems for landscape watering and the water to flush toilets. For instance is the idea of pumping out local residents rainwater collection barrels to some larger containers, which would be available for collective use, feasible?  Obviously there is a power cost in the pumping, and a space and construction cost for large scale tanks, but when compared to desalinization it might be worth a shot

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I think there are lots of better options than desal! In terms of rainwater harvesting, if people are collecting rainwater at their own homes it usually makes the most sense to reuse the water at that site.You may be interested in this article about a community scale rainwater collection system in Sun Valley (LA County):

…..A dilapidated city park was remodeled with cisterns below, as were medians along broad boulevards that were themselves underwater during heavy rains. The result was a system, using ancient Roman technology (see photo above), that captures 8,000 acre feet of water each year, about twice what the entire city consumes, solving the flooding problem and creating a source of fresh water for thousands of residents. The investment also gave the city a new park with ball fields and picnic grounds and higher adjacent property values….

There are also neighborhood sized wastewater treatment and reuse options, and options to reuse wastewater from larger buildings and share the treated non-potable water with other nearby buildings to be used for toilet flushing or irrigation. (The SFPUC is working on this level of project.)

 

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