Water, please. Oh, I am so sorry. We are out of water.

By
Real Estate Agent with Western Carolina Properties

Babbling Brook

Water shortages are heard of throughout the United States, in the Southeast, Atlanta has been in drought conditions, with Lake Lanier at record low levels. Charlotte, North Carolina is in a drought with the major water source, Catawba River, being at the lowest levels I have ever seen.  Many counties have placed restrictions or simply not allowing any more residential or commercial taps into the existing system. 

While we must be good stewards of the land and preserve our natural resources, these restrictions and limitations to new services is prohibiting new construction.  This is adversely affecting all businesses and employees involved in construction or real estate.  We must become open minded to new ideas and municipalities are going to have to consider allowing developers the opportunity to capture currently unused water sources and reuse water.

One might ask, "what is this dude talking about?".  Well, think about this idea.  In addition to lack of water, many municipalities have a lack of ability to treat sewage.  So, what if a developer installed a community waste treatment plant in a subdivision or mixed use development, this would treat the waste for all the homes, rec centers, community buildings, etc., within the community.  Then the liquids that come off the treatment plant could go into an irrigation line that would run back through the subdivision and be utilized to irrigate lawns, flower beds and community green spaces.  In addition to irrigation, what if each home and building had another line running back into each structure that would be the water source for toilets and urinals.  In essence, the toilets would have a net usage of 0% of the water table.  This water is treated at the community plant and could probably be utilized as potable water, but there is a huge stigma with trying to do that.  But, other than my wife's cat, no one at my home drinks from the toilet. 

One other thought in regards to the waste treatment plant is in considering the solids or sludge.  Watauga County, NC has a new treatment plant that sends the solids through a process that "pelletizes" the solids.  If you are a taxpayer in that county you can take a pickup to the waste treatment plant and they will load you up with this product to fertilize gardens and lawns.  Stamford, Connecticut has a treatment plant that does something similar, but they place the product in an incinerator that produces steam that produces enough energy to power the treatment plant and other municipal buildings. 

So, how about a neighborhood that treats it's own waste, reuses the liquids, waters lawns, fertilizes community gardens, powers the plant from the solids, as well as, streetlights, community buildings and amenity areas.  We, as Realtors, should encourage ideas like this and talk to our local leadership to permit projects of this nature in order to save our resources and still maintain the level of living we have become accustomed.

Comments (6)

Al Maxwell
Keller Williams - Marietta, GA
Real Estate Agent
Fortunately things have gotten a little better in Georgia and the governor has released some of the restrictions.
Feb 13, 2008 01:23 PM
Dwayne West
Atlanta Real Estate - Canton, GA
Canton Georgia Real Estate
I know where you are coming from. My inlaws live on Lake Lanier here in Georgia.
Feb 13, 2008 01:24 PM
Todd Baucom
Western Carolina Properties - Cullowhee, NC
That is great to hear, but none the less, a little scary in the Atlanta area last fall.  Many counties around Charlotte still have restrictions in place and most are not allowing any new water taps.  We are fortunate in the mountains that water is pretty plentiful, but we also need to be careful.
Feb 13, 2008 01:25 PM
Frank Rizzo
Cornerstone Realty Partners - Staten Island, NY
You should come up to New York, we've had so much rain in the last 2 weeks - you can take some with you.
Feb 13, 2008 01:27 PM
Terry & Bonnie Westbrook
Westbrook Realty Broker-Owner - Grand Rapids, MI
Westbrook Realty - Grand Rapids Forest Hills MI Re
Ask Las Vegas projection they will be out of water from Lake Mead in a few years if they don't change things. We all have to be aware and conserve before all are out of water.
Feb 13, 2008 02:08 PM
Jerri McCombs, Broker/Owner
Dogwood Real Estate Services - Hendersonville, NC
Hendersonville Living

If we all don't do something soon we will use up every resource we have. I am all for limiting new building unless it is responsible with our resourses. I would say we could go one step further and start putting rain catchment systems in place on every household (old and new) and leave as much of our lakes and rivers in place as lakes and rivers, not our source of watering lawns and flushing toilets.

Thanks Todd.

Aug 17, 2008 09:11 AM