Grey Water Systems

Grey water systems reuse either rainwater or water that has already been used once in the home, such as shower, bath and washing machine water, for secondary, non-potable purposes such as flushing WCs and watering the garden. The concept of domes-

Qanat Mexico

Section through the village of Khoranaq, in the Central Persian desert north of Yazd, showing the passage of the water from an underground channel or Qanat through the village, being used from clean to dirty uses. On its path the underground stream is used to: 1. fill the drinking water cistern and 2. the bath house or Hammam; where it emerges it is used for 3. washing of kitchen ware and clothes (without detergents); and 4. drops down a vertical chute to turn the horizontal mill wheel and emerges again to provide drinking water for the animals and water for the fields. Washing of clothes with detergent is done downstream of the animal drinking water pond and the water run to waste (Roaf).

Section through the village of Khoranaq, in the Central Persian desert north of Yazd, showing the passage of the water from an underground channel or Qanat through the village, being used from clean to dirty uses. On its path the underground stream is used to: 1. fill the drinking water cistern and 2. the bath house or Hammam; where it emerges it is used for 3. washing of kitchen ware and clothes (without detergents); and 4. drops down a vertical chute to turn the horizontal mill wheel and emerges again to provide drinking water for the animals and water for the fields. Washing of clothes with detergent is done downstream of the animal drinking water pond and the water run to waste (Roaf).

tic water reuse is not new. People have for centuries been reusing water as they go about their daily lives, whether it be throwing the cold contents of a tea pot onto the garden or for surviving in the desert, as shown in Figure 10.1.

In many countries of the world traditional homes had a water cistern incorporated into them to collect rain from the roof for all their domestic needs. As the case study from Mexico City below shows this is still being done in modern ecohouses.

The reuse of grey water and rainwater potentially reduces the need to use potable water for non-potable applications, with the water effectively being used twice before discharge to the sewer. The major reuse potential is for WC flushing, garden watering and, in some parts of the world, car washing, all functions for which the use of pure potable water is unnecessary. Grey water systems would result in the conservation of water resources and reduce demand on both public water supplies and sewage collection and treatment facilities. They could also save the consumer money in the long run. The collection and storage of rainwater also offers potential to reduce runoff flows into the surface-water sewer network.

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