If you haven’t heard of Shreya Ramachandran, now is the time to get to know her. This young lady is likely to have a bright future when it comes to using water wisely and responsibly.

Shreya, who is Asian American and now lives in California, was in California’s Central Valley during its historic drought a few years ago. This was one of the worst and most prolonged droughts in the state’s history, and it was devastating for farmers.

The drought reminded her of similar conditions in India. Her grandparents told her they met with a former farmer that recently lost his farm as a result of an unforgiving drought in India.

Though only 11 years old, Shreya decided to see whether there was anything she could do to help the farmers not only in Central Valley but also back home in India. After extensive online research, she found that most of the water used in homes in the United States and India, such as the water used in washing machines and dishwashers, was discharged into sewers where it may not be treated and reused. She wanted to see whether this water, called graywater or greywater, could be redirected and reused for irrigation purposes.

However, she soon stumbled upon a significant obstacle. Most laundry detergents used in both countries, as well as many dishwasher detergents, contain chemicals that make the used water unsuitable for reuse. To address this situation, she combined several natural, safe, and nontoxic ingredients made from nuts and berries, which are used in India to make shampoo. Through various experiments, she found that by using just the right amounts of this mixture, the shampoo was perfect for washing clothes and dishes. Plus, it could be safely reused for irrigation purposes.

Her next step was to conduct another experiment. Her family started to use her shampoo concoction on their clothes and dishes. She then drilled a hole in the side of her parents’ house, allowing the graywater from those machines to be channeled and used to irrigate the plants and trees in her backyard.


It worked and worked well. Similar systems were built for Shreya’s friends and neighbors. In fact, it was the beginning of what is now called the Grey Water Project.

Today, a sophomore in high school, Shreya lectures at libraries and gives presentations on how to recycle and reuse water for daily purposes. Her teachers have even gotten behind the project. She is working with her school to develop a curriculum so that they can teach the topic and build further interest in water conservation and efficiency. “I learned about recycling when in elementary school, and it just became second nature,” she says. “I want that to happen with graywater.”

Architecture Firm Ooze Solves Freshwater Crises

On a small strip of land between the Emscher River and the Rhine Herne Canal in Germany sits a rest stop whose colorful appearance belies its radical purpose. The structure’s artful design consists of pipes leading from two toilets and the Emscher (the most polluted river in Germany) that converge at a small community garden and drinking fountain. The garden is, in fact, a man-made wetland that collects, treats, and cleans the effluence from the toilets and river—making it drinkable.

fresh clean water, drinking water, clean water

The 2010 project, known as Between the Waters, was one of the earliest projects of Rotterdam-based Ooze Architecture and its two founders Eva Pfannes and Sylvain Hartenberg. Ooze is focused on one very specific goal: finding solutions to the world’s clean water crisis through observing, imitating, and socially normalizing naturally-occurring water purification processes. “The solutions are already there, they’ve always been there, ingrained in nature,” says Hartenberg. “We just use these ideas the environment has presented to us all along, and modify them to make systems that are efficient, low-tech, and easily maintained.”

To read more on the Metropolis Magazine website click here.

Western Water Summit 2019

WesternWaterSummit2019; waterless urinal

Join the Conversation!

Our need for water has collided with the realities of reduced water supply and increasingly threatened sources. In many areas, our water management policies and practices are no longer sufficient, costs are rising, and our legal and regulatory framework is out of alignment with current and future hydrologic and climatic conditions.

It’s time to take a hard look at how we address these issues. Be part of the dialogue at this special gathering as we bring together professionals involved in all facets of water management. Groundwater, surface water, wastewater, drinking water, irrigation, water law, reuse, generation, restoration, conservation & efficiency, erosion & sedimentation—it’s all one water. We will explore and collaborate on these topics and more in our primary conference tracks—Water Reuse, Green Infrastructure, Soil & Surface Water, and Water Law.

To find out more information please visit the WesterWaterSummit.com website.

Climate Change and Water

On July 28, 2017, carried an article that caught many Americans off guard. While several of us have been focused on the soap opera in Washington, Italian government leaders have been dealing with a much more severe issue: water, or lack thereof. They announced on July 28 that two-thirds of the citizens in Rome are set to have their water reduced to just eight hours a day, effective immediately.

What is planned, at least right now, is a rolling blackout of water. While the water is being piped into one area of the city, it will be turned off in another. The goal is that each district involved will share the burden, but water will still be available somewhere nearby to deal with personal or city emergencies.

"Rome could be just the beginning," said Giampaolo Attanasio, a public infrastructure expert at the advisory firm Ernst & Young. "If the situation doesn’t improve, other large cities [around the world] will have to ration water as well. Small towns already have."

While a great deal of Rome's water is wasted as a result of ancient water infrastructure that, as one observer pointed out, leaks like a sieve, what most experts are pointing to as the main culprit is climate change. In 2017, Italy experienced the second-hottest Spring in more than 200 years. Further, Spring rainfall was only half the amount typically received.

Lake Bracciano

At Lake Bracciano, where Rome gets most of its water, the lake is drying up at the rate of about half an inch per day. This means that each month, the water level goes down 15 inches.

To read more… click here

Optimism: Individual & Corporate Water Management

Reflections from Jen

Water management often dominates my thinking during the summer: my county’s reservoir is five minutes from home and I paddle board there as often as I can (hey, at least it’s a healthy addiction). In spring, as snowmelt comes from the mountains, the reservoir fills. By late July, trees that were once firmly on the ground become submerged, and I paddle through water-logged aspen glades. Then, as summer goes on, the level begins its expected drop.


But this summer, following a winter of low snowpack, the water never got as high – and it fell faster than ever. By now, even the bands of teenage cliff-jumpers, who joyfully ignore the “no jumping” signs, have mostly disappeared – there’s just not that much water to jump into.

To read more on this article, click here to visit Environmental Leader.