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.