A question about water shortages

Various environmental scientists are expressing concern over lowered water tables in areas where there has been sustained drought. Farmers and homeowners are having to dig deeper wells to replace wells that have run dry.

Not only are we having a shortage of water, we are also experiencing a settling of land in some parts of the country where the decrease in the amount of water underground has caused the particles of sand to settle closer together. This is happening in areas such as Charleston, SC, which makes the city even more vulnerable to flooding during any hurricane or tropical storm surge.

I am not a brain surgeon, or even a rocket scientist. In fact, I’m not a scientist at all. But I can’t help but wonder if there isn’t one simple change that we can make in the way that cleaned up waste-water is handled that could make at least a fraction of a dent in the problem.

I have first hand information about two cities water systems. In Cheraw, SC, water is taken from the Pee Dee River and cleaned up to supply city water as well as to supply water for major beverage companies such as Pepsi Cola. The waste-water from the city is cleaned up the second time and returned to the Pee Dee River.

In Hemingway, SC, deep well water needs minimal treatment to supply the water for the town. Again, the waste water is cleaned up and channeled into Muddy Creek which feeds into the Pee Dee River.

To the best of my knowledge, there is no shortage of water in the ocean, so why are we taking cleaned up water and throwing it away? Couldn’t at least some portion of this water be used more productively? One obvious place where it could be used is to replenish the irrigation ponds that farmers use to water their fields. The water is clean enough for fish. When I lived in Cheraw the waste treatment plant maintained an aquarium of fish in the cleaned up wastewater that was sent into the river. Fishing and recreation ponds could hold this water which would eventually find its way back into the water table.

There could be some reasonable explanation why this idea couldn’t work, but I can’t imagine what it would be. We have already cleaned up the water. God himself has set up a natural filtration system of land and rocks which would continue to filter the water before it eventually reached the water table.

If I knew who to pass this idea on to I would do so. Meanwhile I will post it here on my blog. Perhaps someone will pass it along to a person who can put the idea where it may do someone some good.

Bluebird nest catchup time

Feed me!The second baby bluebird hatched on June 22 which is unusual. Normally bluebirds don’t start incubating the eggs until all are laid so the babies will all hatch on the same day. Since South Carolina had some extremely hot weather about the time the Mama bird was laying eggs, I suspect incubation began immediately without the parent birds sitting on the nest. That would cause the eggs to hatch one a day because they are laid one a day. This picture was taken on June 24th

I’m glad to see that these babies are both alive and growing. They usually lay so still when I peek in on them that I’ve often wondered if they were alive.Sound asleep

The second picture shows the same babies photographed on June 27th. They were sleeping so soundly that I moved each just a little with my finger to see if they were alive, and I still wasn’t sure. But I could see one of them breathing so decided they were OK. They must sleep through the heat of the day. This has been one hot summer! I wish I could think of a good way to put some shade or A/C on the birdhouse.

Pictures and text copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Bluebirds are hatching

1st baby Bluebird hatchedThe baby bluebirds are hatching today. This is the first one. I want to go out and peek again, but I don’t want to risk causing problems. I know I’m missing a lot of chances to get some good pictures. This baby held its head up with its beak open but I wasn’t fast enough to get the picture that way. I’ll probably go back out a little later today and take a chance on it. It is so warm out that there is no risk of chilling the nest.

My curiosity finally got the best of me and I went back for more pictures. But the nest still looked the same. If anything, the baby doesn’t look very healthy. It is pretty hot out. I wish I could come up with a good way to shade the nest.

Pictures and text copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Nest in neighbor's yard

Mockingbird eggMy neighbor welcomed me home from vacation and then showed me a nest in a tree in her yard. I was uncertain of the kind of bird that might have made it though I suspect it was made by mockingbirds as we have several around and they had built nests in our grape arbor before the bluebird box was set up. At the time the nest was empty, but now there is an egg in the nest. It was laid yesterday, (6/20/08), so I’m suprised there isn’t a second egg in the nest today. I hope to catch one of the birds on the nest soon so I can identify it.

June 22 check: There is still only one egg in this nest. I have yet to see the adult birds with the nest.

Pictures and text copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Nest in neighbor’s yard

Mockingbird eggMy neighbor welcomed me home from vacation and then showed me a nest in a tree in her yard. I was uncertain of the kind of bird that might have made it though I suspect it was made by mockingbirds as we have several around and they had built nests in our grape arbor before the bluebird box was set up. At the time the nest was empty, but now there is an egg in the nest. It was laid yesterday, (6/20/08), so I’m suprised there isn’t a second egg in the nest today. I hope to catch one of the birds on the nest soon so I can identify it.

June 22 check: There is still only one egg in this nest. I have yet to see the adult birds with the nest.

Pictures and text copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Second bluebird nest

4 bluebird eggsI’ve been away on vacation, so it’s time to play catch-up. We do have a second nest of bluebirds in our birdhouse and it has four eggs in it. I’m not sure when the eggs were first laid. I looked both yesterday and today and the number was four both days, which means she has stopped laying. My neighbor may be able to shed more light on this when I get a chance to ask him about it. I will never know for sure if this is the same pair of birds that had the first nest or not. The night before the babies fledged, if indeed they did fledge, there was a major thunderstorm with high winds, so they may have gotten caught up in it. I’ll be reporting more on this new nest as time passes.

Pictures and text copyright © 2008 by Janice Green