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Conserving Tucson

October 27, 2014 , ,

home tour

home tour

composting toilet

composting toilet

hand washing

hand washing

okra

okra

chicken run

chicken run

We attended the open house and garden tour offered by Watershed Management Group in Tucson this weekend.  We are interested in finding ways to improve our soil and conserve rain water since we live in a time of drought in the desert.  We have come a long way toward awareness that we need to make use of the storm water that causes erosion and lots of damage to our paved streets.  There is still a lot of work to be done, but the interest is growing and the available resources are expanding.  Home owners who contribute labor to projects at the homes of others can earn credit toward completing their own projects though the Green Living coop program at Watershed Management.  Volunteer opportunities abound, and the coop gives homeowners a more thrifty alternative to hiring a contractor.

The homeowners were gracious showing us gardens, chickens and systems they have installed to capture grey water and rain water.  The outdoor bathroom with solar shower and composting toilet was comfortable and had no objectionable smell at all.  The agriculture thrives with the help of extra rain water.  The plants show obvious signs of good health.  Our favorite home display was the aquaponic garden.  This system uses a few fish to provide the food needed to grow plants in water.  The cascading system is very low in water use since it is all recycled and pumped through the fish tank and back to the garden all the time. We would love to have a system like this, and will go back to visit the aquaponic system to investigate getting our own.  The homeowner also had some ingenious use of rainwater for orchard trees and a wood fired hot tub with a charcoal filter system.

aquaponics

aquaponics

IMG_1469

aquaponic kale

aquaponic kale

wood fired hot tub

wood fired hot tub

 

The most developed and well funded display we visited was the Nature Conservancy headquarters.  They have taken out the asphalt, installed giant cisterns under the parking lot and in metal tanks.  The parking structures are solar electric panels that provide most of the electricity for the facility.  The mission of the Conservancy is wonderfully fulfilled by the educational aspects of the campus.  The public can visit and learn about water harvesting and conservation any time, but during the harvest tour we were accompanied by a docent who was very well informed and helpful.  This well respected institution takes the lead in teaching and practicing ecological sanity.  The building itself was built from recycled materials.  The non native plants were removed in favor of native landscaping.  We are lucky to have this shining example of conservation in our city.

cistern Nature Conservancy

cistern Nature Conservancy

solar electric

solar electric

cistern

cistern

Nature Conservancy

Nature Conservancy

Nature Conservancy

Nature Conservancy

Nature Conservancy

Nature Conservancy

 

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comments

wow.. that’s some really amazing and unique ways to conserve. Great ideas to conserve storm water. We have almost no storms here. Love the solar heating. Cistern water is interesting..how are they heating that or is it only for drinking?

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Stevie Wilson (@LAStory)

October 28, 2014

The water in the metal cistern is for watering the plants, not for drinking.

Like

Pamela Morse

October 28, 2014

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