Well nobody is suggesting that we shouldn't like rain, of course. But maybe we should make good use of it before it hits the ground, while it is in a relatively pure state, able to be moved by gravity - and before we have to pay for its expensive ride downhill to the Ohio river. How much water are we talking about? A lot. Remember the 42.6 inches falling each year on 36,000 acres of impervious surfaces in Hamilton County? That represents about 85% of all drinking water pumped by the greater Cincinnati water works each year. That's right, if we captured all of the rain falling on all our roofs and driveways and parking lots, and treated and used that water locally, we'd barely need the water works. That's just a thought exercise, but we should be able to water the petunias with that rainfall, and possibly flush our toilets, and save some money for us and some carbon for the planet. It's nothing more than recovering the common sense possessed by our grandparents.
I was happy to have the chance to pee recently in the urinal pictured above, which was flushed by rainwater harvested from the rooftop of this highrise apartment building in Seoul, Korea.
There are lots of questions, but lots of motivation to try and get the answers. Can Cincinnati be the first U.S. "rain city"? Where would we start? How do we encourage broad scale participation by individual land owners? How much of that $3 Billion infrastructure expansion cost could we save, and how can we shift some of those funds over to help pay for local rainwater harvesting? How can we maintain the rainwater harvesting infrastructure, owned by individuals, over the long term?