I was running on the treadmill, watching the rain pound against three different TVs displaying the local news on FOX, ABC and NBC. Umbrellas, coats and declarations of the traffic insanity filled the top-of-the-hour stories. It was obvious that the people of Los Angeles were shocked, their commute times expanded and their resources exasperated. But, what about the buildings? With all of the water streaming into California during the beginning of the fourth year of drought, do we have systems in place to resue it effectively? Now, those are the answers I was looking for — though I am a niche market, admittedly.
How heavy rain affects buildings (the real drama)The damages of any particular building follow the rules of real estate value: Location, location, location. Three hundred people evacuated in Los Angeles after 12 inches of rain caused mudslides, flooding and other panic, according to CNN. Flash flood warnings told many more to watch out. But, the real problem can come after the rain — mold is a huge threat, according to Ellis Environmental Management, Inc. Warning signs can come from the wall boards. Moisture wicks up wall boards a foot or two when it gets a chance to collect.
How water is reused: The payoff for the dangerMold aside, when collected properly, rain is always welcome water. California offers a tax credit for harvested rainwater. By capturing rainwater from the roofs of buildings, massive amounts of water can be reserved to use for indoor needs and outdoor irrigation. The water savings can be up to several thousands of gallons, according to SustainableSources.com.
What you can doYou may have heard it before: Take shorter and more efficient showers, do not irrigate more than necessary and turn off the faucet. Some simple steps that you may not have thought about taking:
- Replace your showerhead: Cut your water usage down from 5 gallons per minute to 1.5 without feeling much of a difference by changing your old showerhead to a high-performance one. That is a water savings of 60%!
- Water only when you need to: 40% of our freshwater in California goes to landscape irrigation. It is OK to get irritated with a neighbor’s flooded lawn, but it is wasteful (and an eyesore) to have one yourself.
- Install more efficient faucets: 3-5 gallons of water per minute down the drain instantly turns into 1.5 — you do the math. If you can’t replace yours, add a pressure-reducing valve; it can reduce water use by one-third.