Saturday, October 27, 2007

Busy professions for extreme drought

If you live in the drought-affected areas of northern Georgia and Alabama, your employment fortunes might be in the dumpster or they may be soaring. Clearly, you'd better be a creative landscaper or nursery owner to be getting any business these days, but as this AP story tells us, well-drillers and water recyclers are unable to keep up with the booming demand, even when an average new well will cost $6500 to drill with no guarantee that water will be found.

"The drought's got people thinking about water more," said Charles Cone of Southern Energy Solutions in Marietta. "I think there's going to be a gradual shift toward this sort of thing."

This summer, Cone's company sold its first residential gray water recycling tank in Atlanta. The system recycles bath, shower and laundry water and reuses it for toilet flushing.

"I think it's going to change people's mind-set," he said. "You don't need potable water to flush your toilet. It's just something we've always done."

And not all landscapers are crying in their begonias. Those who sell and install miserly watering systems are being called on to save private and public greenery with drip irrigation systems and water salvaging reservoirs.

The RainHarvest Company, a suburban Atlanta business that outfits homes with systems that capture and reuse rain, said business has quadrupled since the drought began.

"People have suddenly decided that water is a lot more valuable than it was a few weeks ago. It's pretty typical — the less we have of something, the more valuable it is," said Paul Morgan, the company's co-founder. "We can't do all that business, so we've had to pick and choose."

He installs large underground tanks that capture and store falling rain water. The water can be pumped back into the home and reused in the shower, dishwasher and irrigation system, or it can be purified and used as drinking water.

"We don't want people to change their lifestyle," said Morgan. "But we'll show you how to continually reuse the water so you're not wasting it."

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