It is now March 1 2011, and we are nearing the end of the 4th winter for filter 1, the third winter for filters 2, and 3 and the first winter for the pond filter experiment. February, here was one of the coldest on record. The pond filter and filter 1 froze and ceased operation as of Feb 22. Even though the temperature has been above freezing for several days now, there is still ice in most of the containers. No major damage is obvious – yet. All the filters are functional as of today. Filter 2 and 3 did not freeze during this cold spell. The temperature got down to 19 degrees F here for two consecutive nights and stayed below 32 degrees F at night until the 27th of February. The average temp for the month of February here was below 40 degrees F ( 39 in Seattle ). We had about 6 inches of snow total for the month of February at this location. Driving was EXTREMELY hazardous and it is by the grace of God that we are still unhurt after attempting to drive to work in the hoard of unprepared drivers. Some places less than 20 miles from here at lower elevations got over a foot of snow in one day. Despite all this, very little damage has occurred to any of the filters. Note, however that the below freezing temperatures here do not last very long compared to other places.
In addition to the effects of weather, the filters were basically inactive for 2 weeks while we were in Las Vegas Nevada – where incidentally, water IS a big issue. They get about 4 inches of rain a year there in the valley. I’m not sure rainwater harvesting would even be a viable option without specialized equipment. I did notice lots of water flowing in the huge dry wash near the freeway – 15 I think it is. A visit to the Bureau of Land Management interpretive center at Red Rock Canyon (not too far from Vegas), was interesting and they did have a display about water there. I asked them about rainwater harvesting and they seemed amused at my ignorance. “This is the desert” they said. I should have known – but coming from an area that gets lots of rain I guess I sort of take it for granted – hmmmm; after all my rants about people who take water for granted. . . . If anyone has any information on how to capture rain water in arid environments please feel free to post it here. On the bright side, there was a very large PV array at the interpretive center, and that was encouraging.