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The Great State of Grey Water

by Christopher Noll

With states like California facing periods of extreme droughts as global warming continues to worsen, some are considering ways to store and use less water to combat the effects when the next drought rears it ugly head. From dams to expensive plans to divert water further from already-overdrawn rivers, many options have been explored; however, a very promising method that has gotten very little attention is the use of grey water. Grey water is the waste water that comes from baths, doing laundry, and showering. It does not include “blackwater such as wastewater from toilets” (Admin).

This lightly used water can be put to use to accomplish many tasks that do not require purified water. For example, grey water can be cheaply and effectively funneled to water lawns, gardens, and trees while providing them with nutrients. In addition, grey water could also be used to flush toilets, saving copious amounts of clean water. Although in some locations the use of grey water is hindered by law, the utilization of our nation’s water resources is critical and can provide future monetary benefits to those who make the effort.

If a grey water system is put into place, there will be a financial benefit: a significant drop in one’s water bill (“About Greywater Reuse”). With the reuse of clean water to perform water-insensitive tasks, less water will be needed by one’s household, leading to substantial savings in the long run. This tactic to save on utilities may become even more of a cost-saving measure if water taxes, like Gavin Newsom’s new water tax proposal, become a norm in water stricken portions of the country (Koseff).

Although grey in name, the future of grey water and its tangible monetary benefits are looking quite bright! Join the grey water revolution!

Works Cited:

“About Greywater Reuse.” Greywater Action, www.greywateraction.org/greywater-reuse/.  

Admin. “Greywater Facts & Tips.” Rainharvest.co.za, 10 Apr. 2014,

www.rainharvest.co.za/2014/04/greywater-facts-tips/.

“Install a Greywater System.” Install a Greywater System, Fremont Green Challenge,

www.fremontgreenchallenge.org/action/install-greywater-system.

Koseff, Alexei. “Gavin Newsom Budget Calls for Drinking Water Tax to Help Poor

Communities.” Sacbee, The Sacramento Bee, 14 Jan. 2019,

www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article224239685.html.

Markham, Derek. “How to Reuse Grey Water in the Home and Yard.” TreeHugger, Treehugger,

11 Oct. 2018,

www.treehugger.com/green-home/how-reuse-grey-water-home-and-yard.html.

“NPS.” National Parks Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, www.nps.gov/nebe/learn/historyculture/endangered.htm.

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