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I was listening to my local Public Radio station, KUOW, and they had a story about the Waterpod. The Waterpod is a floating demonstration platform for self-sufficiency and resourcefulness and provide an alternative to current and future living spaces.

This sounds like a great idea. Of course I’d have to divest myself of most of my stuff and getting the permits is next to impossible. But I wondered… Instead of a floating home, how about a floating P-Patch?

Right now in Kenmore, Washington, we have a land shortage. Most of land is forested and there is a push to keep the remaining trees. Second, there is a need for land for youth sports: Baseball and Soccer. Basically, any piece of land that could be turned into a P-patch, can also be turned into a ball field or soccer field.

Second, that land, even in these economic times, is valuable. To get enough land to make a decent P-patch would cost a million dollars.

So what can we do?

The barge that's floating in Lake Washington in front of Kenmore WA.

The barge that is floating in Lake Washington

In Lake Washington, floating in front of Kenmore and Saint Edward Park is a large, 316′ x 60′ barge. It’s a fixture in Kenmore, you can see it from any view of Lake Washington. We use to light off fireworks during the 4th of July and on Kenmore’s anniversary.

There is enough room on the barge for about 170-180 10′ x 10′ P-patches. It gets plenty of sunlight, water is not an issue, and it puts to use something that’s an eyesore to many people.

There are problems with it.

It's a fair bit of distance to the barge from the marina.

It's a bit of a boat ride to get to it.

  • The barge can only be accessed by water. So a ferry would have to be set up for those P-patchers without a boat.
  • Which means you have to have classes for boat safety for all P-patchers.
  • Runoff from the barge would have to be monitored for pollution.
  • Getting the necessary permits from the State of Washington and King County for this project.
  • And the biggest one: Finding out who owns the barge.

But if we can overcome those obstacles, we have the potential for a P-patch that doesn’t use any land.

In the next installment: How to overcome those obstacles.

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From Ecogeek:

When one considers the myriad of things becoming hybrid, tugboats are not one of those which immediately come to mind. But in southern California (where else?) the world’s first true hybrid tug was recently unveiled…

Read more about this new hybrid tug boat at Ecogeek!

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One area that everyone in the West needs to address is water usage. We in the West are profligate wasters of potable water. Beyond the use of potable water to drink and cook with, we use it for washing our cars, washing our clothes, washing our bodies, washing our dirty dishes, flushing away our bodily wastes, watering our lawn, watering our plants and gardens, and many other uses.

greengroupOnly 5% of all potable water is used for food preparation, the rest is used for other purposes in the home. You only need about 8 cups of water per day to stay healthy, and you get a good portion of that from the food you eat. Every time you flush the toilet, you say goodbye to 1.6 to 2.1 gallons of drinking water. Which, if you pardon the pun, is a waste.

Public and domestic usage of freshwater in Washington State represents about 24% of all our freshwater supplies, compared to the national average of 12% of the total freshwater supplies. The biggest use of freshwater nation wide is in thermoelectric generation, primarily for cooling purposes, and it is about 48% of freshwater resources. Because we have a lot of hydroelectric power generation in the Northwest, we only use about 10% of our freshwater for cooling.

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