An alternative to San Luis Valley water plan

I am opposed to the plan for Douglas County to purchase water rights from the San Luis Valley. Considering that up to 50% of residential water use is for landscaping, here is an alternative.
First, adopt Colorado Regulation No. 86 - Graywater Control Regulation. Instead of water from showers, laundry, and some sinks going down the drain, the water can be redirected to landscape irrigation during the growing season or to toilets during the winter. Currently, we expend considerable resources treating water to drinking level standards and then just pour it on the ground or flush it down the toilet. With a graywater system, the water will be used in the home before it gets a second use. Graywater systems should be required in all new construction. Subsidies should be provided for addition of graywater systems to existing structures.
Second, the county should create a team of landscape professionals to develop a county-wide xeriscape plan. The plan should include the removal of all irrigated plants (except playing fields) from public properties within the county. The plants should be replaced with native or other low-water-use plants that can be adapted to the Front Range environment. The team should conduct outreach to homeowners where the principles and goals of xeriscape are introduced during block-by-block meetings. Heavy subsidies should be offered to help persuade residents to convert their water-thirsty yards to low-water-use native or other adapted plantings. The actual removal and installation work can be conducted by vetted landscape professionals. Some of the larger landscaping companies that would not bother with a single yard may be persuaded to create and install designs for whole blocks, thus achieving a uniform aesthetic. Follow-up workshops should be offered on how to care for the new landscaping.
Imagine if your indoor home wastewater is sufficient to provide most if not all additional water for landscaping needs. The result would be a dramatically reduced water bill, dramatically reduced water usage, major time savings from not having to mow lawns, and no need for expensive water diversion projects like that currently under consideration.
There are two ways to become rich, make more or want less. We can't make more water and will eventually reach the limits of what we can extract from the environment. We can want less water though. In wanting less, we will keep money in our pockets and adequate supplies of water available for years to come.
Edward A. Fabiano II is a resident of Highlands Ranch.
san luis valley, water, douglas county, conservation, sustainability


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