Monday, July 16, 2012

Thinking even more about water

Hello everyone,

I hope you are faring o.k. in this heat and drought.

I've been thinking even more about water ... most lately about water run-off during a rainfall. 

Yesterday, here in London, we had two rains.  Environment Canada lists yesterday's rainfall as about 4 mm, which is very little.  I had only one empty container in the garden.  There wasn't one full centimeter (10 mm) (2/5inch).  So, that water didn't go down too far in the garden beds. 

I've been watering with the hose - we're long out of any rainwater.  I'm past the point of worrying about whether there's chlorine in City water.  Just grateful that London gets its water from Lake Huron and it's available.  To anyone who says water and sewer rates are costly ... well, that's what the health of my garden costs me.

Anyway ... back to water run-off. 

Yesterday as it rained I watched water running down the sidewalks and roads, all to end up in the sewer and eventually into the Thames River to head downstream.  There is no system for catching any of that water that hits hard surfaces.  And I know that will be slow to change (especially in London).

However, the thing that really makes me nuts is that almost all plantings around plazas and businesses are "built" so that plants are planted at the top of a hill and then all the water that comes along runs down a slope and off and away via the nearest sidewalk or road or parking lot.  The one parking lot I went by this morning had the standard green strip around it, elevated into a "berm" (so the cars don't escape except through the entryway, I guess). The cars' noses touched the cement low edge of the berm.  Their front tires were in several inches of water because water from the asphalt lot wasn't draining toward the grates and the slope on the berm was such that any rain rolled right off.  The dry hardness of the soil is such that it would take an hour of gentle rain for water to be absorbed to an extent for more to be taken in to the soil. 

I'm not saying that well, but think of a sponge.  If you have a year old totally dry sponge in the bathroom cupboard and run some water over it quickly, moisture isn't taken up; its pores are too small.  You have to soak the sponge for a while to have it expand and take in water.

Even without catching water from pavement, if green spaces were sloped upward at the edges so water was contained, or if sloped areas were terraced or 'swaled' in even gentle ways so that there were water catchments ... well, there'd be a lot more water available for the poor plants.

I've absolutely gotta find out whether the City has any way of telling builders/developers that they've got to get more water smart about their green spaces, and increase their green spaces.

Best regards to all. Join in being grateful for the water we have!

Why's Woman

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