Sensors Mag

The Big Brown Marble

November 9, 2006 By: Stephanie vL Henkel, Sensors


E-mail Melanie Martella

When I was in Anaheim, California, on business a couple of years ago, more than one native Golden Stater remarked: "I know New Hampshire's beautiful, but I don't think I could take the humidity." This struck me as hilarious, because as someone who grew up in Memphis (as in Tennessee), I think of my adopted state as cold rather than humid. I also think that those living in parts of the West, including southern California, would kiss an excess of humidity on the nose right now. While they're waiting to do that, there's an article in our November issue they—and everyone—else should read. It's about a smart water management scheme.

Dune and Earth
Ever read Frank Herbert's novel, Dune? Ostensibly about a gallactic quest for a spice that everyone craves, this immense work of literature had me reaching for a glass of water every few minutes. The planet where it's set is so devoid of water that the dead are recycled for what they hold in their cells. You don't want to know more.

All the water on Earth, plentiful as it appears, has been here since our homeworld came into being. But usable water is getting harder to get at. Some states are experiencing a severe drought, yet their populations are zooming upward. Ad hoc ordinances and strong recommendations have been enacted and issued. Replacing grass with artificial turf; schedules for car-washing and lawn-watering; shutting down decorative public fountains. Don't let the faucet run while you brush your teeth. And do you really need gallons of water to get rid of three ounces of urine?

Saving with Sensors
It's gratifying that many white goods manufacturers are paying attention to water conservation. Washing machines evaluate the loads and figure out how much water they'll need to get it all clean. Those low-flush commodes have attracted an warranted share of sneering, if you ask me. Come on, people, hold the handle down a little longer and the bowl's ready for the next customer. If I had a house full of children, I'd probably investigate those commercial bathroom basins that deliver water only when someone's hands are really there and asking for it.

Anyone for a Round of Golf?

The article I mentioned earlier, "Irrigation Smarts Tee Up Savings,", describes the way six championship golf courses in Arizona's Sonoran desert are benefiting from intelligent irrigation systems. Efficiency went up and costs went the other way. Even if you don't golf—and your ranks would include me—you'll have to agree that this system qualifies as stewardship of our most necessary natural resource. Okay, okay, golf's a game and we could get along without it. Still, I think it's worth playing in that it gets even the frail outside and in motion, doesn't call for paving over acres of grassland, and, at least in principle, offers a chance for casual conversations.

Speaking of Water
If New Hampshire gets snow the way we've had rain ever since it quit snowing this past spring, the independent snowplowers will be driving some mighty fancy new rigs come February. Comments? Please scroll down to the handy form below and tell us what you think..

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