by Amy Christeson
On river trips, we spend our days surrounded by it. We swim in it, bathe in it, and take it for granted. But upon leaving the river corridor, we are greeted with a vast, arid landscape. Reminder: we live in the desert, where water is the lifeblood, and a scarcity. Our Green River base only receives 8 inches of rainfall a year. The mighty Yampa River recedes to a mere trickle in the summer. In nature, plants and animals have adapted to live in extreme aridity, and yet humans move around from region to region with their love of golf courses and swimming pools, regardless of the environment. Fortunately, as the green movement takes hold, we are doing our part to look at our relationship with nature and question our actions.
How can we reduce water consumption? Do garden plants really need drinking-quality water that has been through an expensive purification process? In a world where bottled water is becoming more expensive than gas, the concept of reusing grey water–that is, wastewater from sinks, showers and washing machines–is becoming more accepted. At our Green River warehouse, we’ve put this idea into practice by capturing grey water from the laundry machine rinse cycle into a 100-gallon storage tank, where it is then used as needed for watering our native landscape and trees. This easy and inexpensive set-up is great for the environment because it not only diverts the hundreds of gallons of water annually that would flow straight from the washing machine into the sewer system, but also redistributes it among the garden sands and soils, which act as a natural filter as the water seeps back into the water table.