At Monestevole we are lucky. Our 70 meter well gives us thousands of liters of fresh water every day! We also harvest rain water to flush the toilets. But the climate is changing.
Sometimes in the summer, it doesnt rain for 3 months and even the well starts to dry out, giving us "only" 2000 liters a day of water. Now that sounds like a lot, but it unfortunately coincides with the period when we need the water the most. With a full household of 30 people we consumes more than 3000 liters of water a day. The animals drink more with the heat, horses can drink up to 40 liters a day! But most importantly our permaculture gardens, our fruit orchards and our vineyard need up to 3000 liters of water a day to thrive.
Last summer, after three months of drought, when even the oak forests started dying, we had to buy ship in water with water trucks :( This was unacceptable for a community that is trying to be sustainable.
So over the past few months we built a Fitodepurazione, just one word in italian to describe a gray-black water living system.
We had to excavate, a lot, to build a 50 sq. meter gravel pool. Here we planted water reeds, which we got from a nearby pond. We attached our septic tank to the gravel pool, so that all the household water goes from the septic tank to the gravel pool instead of being lost underground. The gravel and the roots of the reeds clean the gray and black water from the house. From here the water flows into a pond we created to mimic a natural eco-system Here we plant bulrush, water lilies, and lotus flowers to create an organic environment that will continue the origination process of the water. Finally the water overflows into the last pool, which holds about 100.000 liters, with floating water lentils and goldfish that continue to keep the water clean.
We pump this water to the house to flush the toilets, and to the fields for agriculture. This allows us to reuse 3000 liters of water every day that would otherwise be lost underground!
Fitodepurazione is not only a sustainable community solution, any household can recycle their water this water this way instead of dumping it in sewers. Municipality can do it at a town level, helping them solve the huge sludge problem that plagues our overflowing sewers. rather than a national sewer system, better to deal with gray and black water locally, reusing it in perpetuity, thanks as always, to Mother Nature.