Letter: Water-saving tips
Here in Colorado, we are all very familiar with the hydrologic cycle and how it effects our mountains and rivers. Our beautiful landscape is dependent on a healthy hydrologic cycle to maintain clean water for our recreational and environmental use.
When looking at the different parts of the cycle, we can see a lot of anthropological influence on our runoff. Urban areas have many impermeable surfaces like roads and sidewalks, these developments gather pollutants that can wash into our rivers.
According to a case study on the effects of storm-water pollution on the hydrologic cycle by the University of Genoa in Italy states that the “main factors determining the build-up of pollutants of the paved surfaces of urban areas are dust fallout, human activities, traffic, wind and erosion from unpaved areas.”
If we have all these different sources of pollution to our river, how will we be able to keep our environment clean and beautiful for us, and our future generations? There are a couple of options we as Colorado citizens have.
The first option is to utilize the newly established rainwater collection law here in Colorado. In 2016, Governor Hickenlooper signed House Bill 1005 giving residents the ability to harvest rainwater.
Each residence is allowed up to two, 55-gallon barrels for outdoor use. In a study done by the American Society of Civil Engineers, “rainwater harvesting is a unique practice because it provides both water supply and runoff reduction benefits.”
The second option involves more work but is more aesthetically pleasing and a greener option. Planting trees in your yard or even in a planter is a great and beautiful way to help prevent excess runoff.
An even more effective, and green, method of preventing runoff is implementing green roofs. You can install either a garden or even simple grass on your roof top to capture rainfall and reduce evapotranspiration from polluted runoff.
The Technical University of Munich in Germany did a study to quantify the amount of runoff reduction by either method, “14.8 percent by green roofs, 2 percent by trees.”