Managing your water can be a bit of a fiddle

Mon Feb 9, 2009 10:10am EST
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By Nick Rosen

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - As water becomes a scarce commodity, some people are doing all they can to conserve -- both by reducing consumption and capturing the rain.

In Southern Florida, firefighter and paramedic Rick Sheldon is battling to increase the amount of rainwater he gathers. His biggest gripe is the local luxury golfing community, which uses huge amounts of water just to keep the greens fresh.

A swelling global population, changing diets and mankind's expanding "water footprint" have led ecologists to forecast "peak ecological water" - the point where, like the concept of "peak oil," the world has to confront a natural limit on something once considered virtually infinite.

"We are out in the middle of nowhere. My little two acres is one of the few remaining areas round here that's almost all natural," Sheldon said.

The 43-year-old rescue worker and his 42-year-old wife Andi live in an 1,800 sq foot (167.2 sq meter) home in St Augustine, Florida the oldest continuously inhabited place in the continental United States.

They have mains power but water is from a well, which is starting to run dry in the summer. So he installed a rainwater gathering system made as far as possible from used parts.

"My tanks are reclaimed - we have a cigar factory just to the north of us - they go through one or two 1200 liter tanks a week for the glue in the cigars."

Sheldon installed two a year ago. He paid $40 each to have them transported to his home.   Continued...