Madison Utility in Wisconsin is taking an exciting route to introduce people to water conservation and sustainable living.
The utility owns some excess land and has decided to develop it and build a set of houses that will be completely eco-friendly and prove that it is possible to use half of the daily water that a typical household registered with the utility would.
The Cap Times reports what Tom Heikkinen, general manager of the utility, said:
“The central feature of the house, Heikkinen said, will be a rainwater capture system that will flush the toilets in the house instead of using city water. Pipes will carry rainwater from the gutter to a storage tank in the basement. Any excess water will be pumped out into a cistern that could be used to water a garden.
This “drastically reduces” the amount of water a homeowner would need to purchase from the water utility, Heikkinen said.”
The house will also feature permeable pavement, native plants, turf, and other energy-efficient systems to keep all rainwater that has fallen on the property within the property itself.
All of this combined should reduce the daily water used from mains by half from 30 – 35 gallons down to 15 – 17 gallons. Madison Water plans to give tours through this house and sell it to future homeowners.
The idea is to show the public that modern residential design makes water-saving technology possible.
With water scarcity becoming an increasing problem due to climate change, rainwater capture systems can provide an additional water source to households that otherwise they will buy from water utilities.
While permeable surfaces can allow water to seep into the ground to replenish groundwater in underground aquifers instead of channelling it into stormwater drains that would effectively waste this increasingly precious resource.