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About The Petal

The intent of the Water Petal is to realign how people value water; to address the energy and chemicals involved in transporting, purifying and pumping water; and to redefine “wastewater” as a precious nutrient and resource.


The scarcity of water is a serious issue, as many countries around the world face severe shortages and compromised water quality due to global climate change. Even regions that have avoided the majority of these problems to date due to a historical presence of abundant fresh water are at risk: the impacts of climate change, highly unsustainable water use patterns, and the continued drawdown of major aquifers suggest significant problems ahead. Closed loop systems based on the resources available, with localized treatment, can help mitigate these issues and create a more resilient water future.

Closed Loop System

Currently, 100% of our water comes from a groundwater well located on site and all wastewater is treated on site in a septic system; Therefore, we already comply with one requirement called "Net Positive Water" which wants to see a closed loop system.

Responsible Water Usage

Our household water use is limited to 26 gallons per person daily. We started to monitor the water that we use inside the house and the water that we use for irrigation (see picture of our water monitor). This way we are learning about our current water usage and we can find out how much we will need to reduce it.

We are applying for a permit to install a composting toilet system (see photo and diagram) which would bring us the biggest reduction in water usage inside the house (less than 0.5 liters/flush). We are planning to keep one of the three existing flush toilets connected to the septic system as a redundancy. However, we already replaced this particular outdated fixture that used more than 3 gallons per flush (gpf) with a low-flush toilet (1.28 gpf). During the renovation we will replace all faucets and showerheads with low-flow fixtures.

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We are allowed to use groundwater for irrigation, but we have to meter the water usage. Currently, most of our irrigation is directed toward establishing and growing a permaculture food forest, as described under the place petal. Much of the topsoil in the food forest will be mulched heavily with horse manure, cardboard and wood chips, which will act as natural water storage near the surface and will reduce our irrigation needs. Manure can hold up to 900% of its weight in water. (See The Humanure Handbook.) Also, the understory beneath the fruit trees will be composed of primarily perennial shrubs and plants, including many drought-tolerant species native to California. Perennials often need less irrigation compared to annuals because their roots penetrate deep into the soil toward the water table over many years.

We will further reduce our irrigation needs through a greywater system: The water from the bathrooms sinks, showers and the washing machine will be used to water plants on the west side of the house.


WINDHORSE Site Plan Website Water 220216.jpg

We will construct vegetated swales on contour lines to capture, spread and sink all stormwater on site, so there will be no stormwater runoff. 

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