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[APD] Thoughts on RO and the environment

I keep seeing references to RO.  It bothers me knowing that some of the 
people posting these references and even recommendations to use RO come from people 
living in places like Las Vegas and Los Angeles.  I think you people need to 
take a drive about 20 miles from civilization and look around.  You'll quickly 
notice that you live in a desert.  

I used to live in Western NY, next to the largest fresh water reserve in the 
world.  Plenty of water, plenty of non-irrigated farms.  Water everywhere.  My 
neighborhood was built on a seasonal wetland, and there was a swamp behind my 
house where the northern pike fishing was great.  RO there makes perfectly 
reasonable sense.

But not in Phoenix, Tucson, Santa Fe or San Diego. The Los Angeles River is a 
concrete trench that movie makers like to use for chase scenes and car races, 
most recently in "The Italian Job".  By the time the Colorado River reaches 
the end of its course in the Gulf of California, it's only a fraction of the 
flow that enters the reservoir behind Hoover Dam, and most of it comes from 
tributary rivers along the way.  Because L.A. is a thirsty place with a growing 
population, there is occasional talk about diverting the Snake from Idaho down 
to Utah to give LA even more of the water it needs for critical issues like 
washing cars.  

Ten years ago I moved to Idaho, and found that litigation lawyers here make 
more money on water rights disputes than anything else including ambulance 
chasing, and most of that is disputes between states protecting their agriculture 
and the tree-huggers trying to get more water for the fish.  Just because 
there is water coming out of the tap every time I go to the kitchen sink, that 
doesn't mean I should abuse the water supply.  There are alternatives.  Like 

The reason we should use DI instead of reverse osmosis in water-challenged 
areas like the American West (Washington and Oregon rain-forest areas excluded) 
is because RO units can generate up to five gallons or more of "Waste" water 
for every gallon of purified water.  And that waste water just runs to the 
nearest water-treatment plant.  Most of them still use DI secondary stages to 
finish the job of purification anyway.

Yes, there is maintenance with DI units, but there is with RO, too.  If using 
rechargeable resins, the DI will cost about the same per gallon as changing 
filters in the RO unit.  With a little effort, it isn't hard to find a water 
treatment company that will swap you resins for a fee and do the recharging to 
give to another customer.

A couple years ago the state of Idaho decided that the water coming from 
certain rivers was "Water-to-die-for" for tropical fish farmers, and actually 
sponsored a couple breeders with grants for facilities and equipment.  But when 
these lucky individuals starting requesting more water because they needed to do 
10-20% daily water changes in their discus fry tanks, the state had a hissy 
and shut the whole thing down. 

If you live in Pennsylvania, ignore this posting, but if nearby farmers are 
running irrigation systems, think twice about your RO unit.  We in the aquarium 
hobby are generally ecology-sensitive and concerned with issues like 
bio-diversity and environmental conservation, but we use electricity and water like 
our actions have no impact on the planet whatsoever.  Please, all I'm asking is 
that you think and act responsibly.
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