EcoMyth: Water Management Is for the Cities (and Whoever Else Is Paid to Deal With That Stuff)
Let’s start with a little flashback. You’re in grade school, looking around your classroom at the other kids (whoa, what were we thinking with those haircuts?), and your eyes settle on a poster on the wall. Puffy rain clouds, a cheerful sun, and a few big words like “transpiration” indicate that this is the Water Cycle poster, an iconic diagram that most of us saw at least once in grade school. (Here’s a classic one to jog your memory.) Bright arrows show water falling as rain, nourishing plants and filling in rivers, lakes, and oceans, then heading back into the sky to start the whole shebang over again.
Now look for the bit where the rainwater runs off our many impermeable surfaces (think concrete and building roofs), floods sewers, then causes crap (literally) to enter and pollute our waterways. Don’t see that in the cartoon diagram? Overflowing sewers may not have featured prominently in the lesson plan in those days, but today, there’s no ignoring them.
Thankfully, there are urban engineers, civic officials, and government agencies who have made it their mission to address those stormwater challenges. But with century-old sewer systems still in use across the country, there’s just not enough money to pay for complete system overhauls. And that’s where we, the nature-loving kids-at-heart, come in. (more…)