We live in the county, but in the city, homeowners pay a flat rate for their water service. This leads to some unusual and wasteful water practices. For example, during the summer, when it is frequently quite hot here, homeowners have been known to set a lawn sprinkler atop their house, to water their roof and cool it down to save on air-conditioning costs. The tap water flows over the roof, cooling it by evaporation, then into the gutters and down into the septic sewer, only to be treated once again. Here in the county, our water is metered, and we pay for what we use. Our sewer bill is derived from our water bill, but it is always assessed only on our January water consumption, with each subsequent month’s sewer bill being identical to the first. Meaning, we don’t have to pay for sewer services on the water that we use to water the lawn.
The city gets its water from the county, and I am not exactly sure on the whole arrangement, but it must be quite favorable to the city, not only because of the whole sprinkler on the roof thing, but Forest Park has been slowly but steadily becoming more and more irrigated. A decade or so ago, Forest Park Forever funded a major overhaul of the park’s hydrology. Long ago, there used to be a creek that flowed through what was once Skinker’s Swamp, but then came the World’s Fair and it is now Forest Park. That creek was eventually buried underground in storm sewers, but as part of the park’s revitalization a simulated creek was build that roughly follows the contours of the original one. A steady flow of tap water keeps these loosely connected pools full and relatively stagnate free, even though the heat of the summer. In addition to this water usage, every year more and more sprinklers seem to sprout. It used to be that come August most of the grass in the park had turned brown, but not anymore.
This practice of pouring water out upon the land in not restricted to Forest Park. Another major park in the city, Tower Grove Park is nearing completion of their own water works project. Encompassing an area that is roughly a quarter of the park, a waterway of sorts has been installed. This week, when we were walking in the park, we saw it being tested. A group of workers were there, standing around looking at a waterfall that hadn’t been there before. It was slowly, but steadily filling the sinuous water course that had been created. It will take quite a bit of water to fill these new channels and to keep them flowing but living at the confluence of this continent’s two biggest watersheds, we have water to spare.
In other news today, we accepted a bid from a company to sand, clean, brighten, seal, and then stain our back porch. It will probably take them more than a month to be able to do the work, but at least we are in their queue now. It will cost more than I had hoped, but at least it will look nicer than it has in years.