Systems thinking + the poetics of greywaterPosted: February 20, 2014
Cost and ease of installation/maintenance are major limiting factors in the widespread use of domestic greywater remediation systems. Introducing people to concepts and technologies that allow them to experiment with greywater on a relatively small scale can act as a gateway to larger — possibly collective — actions towards sustainable water use.
Systems thinking is a school of thought that recognizes that what happens in one part of a system affects every other part. Systems thinking examines the interconnectedness of elements within a system, and
clusters of systems that combine to form larger networks. 25 years ago, Swedish author, cancer-researcher, and scientist Karl-Henrik Robèrt, founder of the Natural Step Institute, wrote a article that remains relevant today about the philosophies behind this mode of thought
I am experimenting with a hyper-condensed version of systems thinking in designing a prototype for an under-the-kitchen-sink tiered wetland greywater remediation strategy. In the prototype, the roots of wetland plants like alfalfa, water hyacinth, and pickerel weed naturally clean used water. A five gallon tank stores water that can then be used to water gardens.
The kit requires labor to install and maintain, but the labor is mitigated by the work of the ecosystem of the wetland; the routine is more like gardening than farming. Use of gardening materials like terra cotta gets people used to the idea of bringing a natural ecosystem into their kitchen.
The design was inspired by stacked matka pots that some use to filter drinking water in India