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Great Basin Permaculture Message Board General Discussion Forum › Grey Water use in LV?

Grey Water use in LV?

Las Vegas, NV
Post #: 339
Q1: Is this true?
"Gray water recycling opposed by Southern Nevada Water Authority"­

Q2: What is the status of home owners being able to use their own (payed for) grey water?
Christine B.
user 12821940
Meadview, AZ
Post #: 9
I'm surprised nobody responded because permaculture without gray water is really NOT permaculture. We live in AZ and gray water systems are legal as long as they're up to code.
Las Vegas, NV
Post #: 350
Thanks for responding Christine!
Good to know about AZ
Would you know if I posted in an AZ permi group if I could get someone from Las Vegas to respond ;-)
Susan H.
Las Vegas, NV
Post #: 139
Thanks for the article link. Every home I had in AZ had some grey water piping but none were up to state code which seemed pretty complicated. Living in the country makes it easier to reuse water individually. I haven't read the NRS to see what this state has to say. I knew SNWD got credit for the returned water which I now have learned increases their allotment. Reusing grey water on site seems so logical but in a city might be too big a battleship to turn. Thanks for starting this discussion.
Henderson, NV
Post #: 41
Definitely thank you for restarting the discussion! It is true that SNWA is opposed to grey water recycling. When the water of the Colorado River and the Hoover Dam was initially divided between Western states dependent on it, Nevada's population was much smaller than it is today and our allotment reflected it. As the SNWA was established our population grew but the allotment stayed the same. The way SNWA secured more water for Southern Nevada was through return credits. This is mostly the reason SNWA is opposed to grey water recycling, though they also credit the lack of knowledge Southern Nevadans possess about installing grey water systems. Listen to a recent interview on NPR by GBP member Enrique Garcia and SNWA Conservation Manager Doug Bennett, et al. There are some alternative methods offered in this interview for homeowners harvesting their own grey water within legal limits.
While grey water is very important to practicing permaculture, it is unfortunately not (yet) legal in Southern Nevada. Harvesting rainwater is legal, however, and Great Basin Permaculture is currently working on a residential project to show homeowners how harvesting the small amounts of rainfall we do get in the Mojave Desert makes a huge difference. Listen to an NPR interview here with Rainwater Harvesting expert Brad Lancaster, who led a workshop sponsored by GBP in 2013. Check out photos of the residential project we are working on here.
Grey water is absolutely important to dryland communities, and as a community we need to continue to stress this. If you look through some of the many pictures we have on this Meetup page (thank you to our incredible Sarah for the amazing shots!), you can see how Great Basin Permaculture is striving to conserve the most precious resource we have. At the Permaculture Learning Garden inside the Vegas Roots Community Garden, we track our water usage very closely, as most of the water we use, and waste, in Southern Nevada is in our landscapes (around 70%!). Here is where we track it. We use very little water on the 1/10th acre plot we grow on by utilizing permaculture techniques and observation.
While we face restrictions with grey water in Southern Nevada, there is much we can do to conserve and reuse what we use and pay for. Please post with anymore information and thoughts you have! Thank you so much for the discussion.
Christine B.
user 12821940
Meadview, AZ
Post #: 10
I was just looking around here again yesterday because I'd really like to see what you're actually doing and I just found the pics of your plot. What trees and bushes did you plant?

I think I saw a mesquite, or locust?

We're planning on visiting April with the orchard in Vegas in a few weeks and maybe we can finally make it to your plot. Been hoping to be able to attend one of your events, but so far it just hasn't worked out. Thought I'd meet Jessica at the Delphi meeting last month, but she didn't make it.

After 5 years of trying permaculture and growing food in the desert, I know that you either build a garden with critter proof fencing and covered with shade cloth (not very pretty, IMO), a greenhouse, or you plant a gazillion fast growing trees. We're doing a little of everything until we have enough trees and will most likely always have to fence out critters for most food crops.

We're growing junk trees just because they grow fast and bought 20 ea black locust, mimosa and AZ cypress seedlings at the NV state nursery for Arbor Day. Gave a few away at our gardening club meeting and about 50 will go in the ground here. Just planted 6 or 7 of the black locusts (nitrogen fixers) around one of our gardens.

We haul our water from a well about 1.5 miles away and currently have only a 320 g tank. Many trips to the well and we're going to borrow a friend's water hauler to haul 5000 gallons in a day or two to fill our tanks and it'll be interesting to see how much water we're using.

When I built my house here I plumbed for grey water (2 valves) because I had already lived in the area for a few years and only an idiot would not use their washing machine and shower water for trees. Forget about permaculture (which I knew nothing about then), it's just common sense to use gray water to plant APPROPRIATE trees to shade your house and lower your cooling bill.

Just read that Lake Mead is down 20 feet from last year. We took a boat to Temple Bar a few weeks ago and hit a sand bar in the middle of the lake!

Anyway, in 2011 we planted a bunch of trees and shrubs that have been exclusively watered with gray water, they're doing great and in fall we'll take cuttings and hopefully we'll have hundreds of trees and bushes on our 2 acres within a few years.

We planted one tree several years ago out of the way and I didn't water it at all last summer because I forgot about it. It's still alive!

We'll plant a small permaculture orchard in fall and we are prepared to haul as much water as it takes -- and it will take a LOT until the black locusts and the other trees and bushes are big enough to provide shade.

I just wish we had more gray water. Until it got too hot, we hosted WWOOFers and some had a tough time getting used to the idea that we do NOT try to conserve water and encourage LONG showers. Water is never wasted here.

Considering the Las Vegas water situation, I really can't understand why every new house isn't required to have a gray water setup. I only costs about $50 for the valves and fittings.

I've had my share of issues with Mohave county and there was a time when we were concerned over AZ rules for rain water harvesting. In my experience (we dug two swales and a huge hole to save the water), it's almost a waste of time and effort because it rarely rains. In fact, last August was the FIRST time we got several monsoon rains and I lived in the area since 2001.

Well, that's my rant for the day :)
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