Urban Fold

Is Using Gray Water a Bad Idea?

The Southern Nevada Water Authority is officially opposing the residential use of gray water, arguing that it diminishes the replenishment of Lake Mead and, ironically, discourages water conservation.

"In Las Vegas, water used indoors travels a continuous loop. From homes, water flows to a treatment plant, which sends it back to Lake Mead. Then an equivalent amount is pumped from the lake, and the 12-mile journey to treatment plants and Southern Nevada's taps begins again.

The Southern Nevada Water Authority wants that system preserved because it allows Las Vegas to consume more than its annual 300,000-acre-foot allotment from the Colorado River. Water returned to the lake converts to credits that the Water Authority can use to pump more water from the lake.

But some homeowners, builders and environmentalists watching this continuous loop wonder: Why not shorten the distance water travels by allowing homes to keep and recycle the water they use - what's known as graywater? The water authority, after studying the idea, decided this year to make it official policy to oppose it."

Full Story: Agency opposes water recycling at homes



Irony of water rights

I have heard about this issue before, it is unfortunate that on the upper Colorado River many communities cannot recycle water because their water rights are limited to one time use and returning it to the river for downstream use. This is why water planning needs to become more comprehensive regionally.

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