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Saltwater main

For places with (fresh) water shortages
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In some places such as the Los Angeles area, there are concerns about water shortages.

Conservation could help, as might desalination.

But what of using salt water?

One could imagine saltwater treatment plants purifying saltwater that would go to mains that would provide saltwater to the citizens. Houses, particularly the new ones, could now have four taps.

Some might find uses for this plentiful form of water. They can shower in it, bathe in it--either completely or partially. Maybe with corrosion resistant machines, they could wash their clothes. It would have uses in swimming pools and jacuzzis. One might use for saltwater aquariums.

One might cook food insaltwater instead of adding salt.

What are they called--"haeleophytes": plants that grow in saltwater? Some garden possibilities.

Some might even experiment with home-desalination.

Great Satan, Jun 22 2003


       Outside the house, there could be _three_ taps - one for regular water, one for saltwater and one for untreated city wastewater - this last would be used for watering the plants, as it would be chock full of nutrients. Don't drink from the hose!
bungston, Jun 22 2003

       Four taps, and a hose for watering and fertilizing the lawn and (likely) ornamental plants. I suppose tertiary treated sewage would have more industrial uses--such as car washes.
Great Satan, Jun 22 2003

       I want to like this idea but I can just see the lawn devistation caused by new home owners hooking their sprinklers up to the wrong tap. Or young vandals playing a prank.   

       Good point,   

       However, the saltwater would likely be for indoor uses and the tertiary treated sewage for the lawns. At any rate there could be different sized taps and even locks.
Great Satan, Jun 22 2003

       Isn't this why God invented Reverse Osmosis Units?
gnomethang, Jun 22 2003

       Salt water solely for fire mains?
phoenix, Jun 23 2003

       I don't see many household uses for saltwater, certainly not washing the car or watering the lawn.
DrCurry, Jun 23 2003

       This would work with unpotable fresh water. For instance, untreated out of a river, or partially treated sewage water. But that’s already baked for lawn irrigation.
AO, Jun 23 2003

       Not sure you are all aware exactly how corrosive salt water is. Piping would have to be non-metallic if it were to last more than a year or two (or made from something exotic and arse-spankingly expensive like hastelloy or inconel). Valves would be a particular problem.   

       Compare this against the limited uses possible - firefighting and watering a few salt tolerant plants (and pre-salted water for boiling spuds). Who would really want to bathe in salt water, without showering in fresh water afterwards, or walk around in salt-encrusted clothes?   

       If you're going to use the salt water, desalinate it - it will be cheaper and more useful.   

       (Still...the smell of the sea in your sink might be appealing)
suctionpad, Jun 23 2003

       Piping could be plastic or ceramic--likely the former for households, the later for the main pipe. Valves could be large plastic.   

       You'd do the main cleaning in salt water--or perhaps a combination salt and brackish with a rinse in fresh water to get ride of residues of soap, detergent, and salt.   

       Ditto with clothes washing. It would be washed in salt--or brackish water, rinsed in fresh.   

       One can boil in salt water, wash foods in it, wash hands in it during food preparation, wash dishes, etc.   

       Also, again there are swimming pools which use very large quantities of water.   

       One need no more smell the sea in saltwater than one smells the lake, pond, or river in fresh water.
Great Satan, Jun 23 2003

       [Great Satan] what about pumps? These would have to be exotic specials. And plastic valves are about as much use as chocolate teapots, especially at higher pressures.   

       Also, special household appliances would be needed (e.g. saltwater resistant washing machine), and possibly a change to detergent formulations to prevent excess foaming.   

       Oh...and the "smell of the sea" comment was ironic...
suctionpad, Jun 23 2003

       [ff] The convention is generally //quote//, though I have no idea why.
Worldgineer, Jun 23 2003

       Thanks for your thoughts people,   

       Why not pumps with platinum blades--or plated blades? Chances are such a pump is already expensive.   

       Isn't bleach pretty corrosive already? The zipper will be washed in salt water, not soaked for hours. Further, aren't zippers plated?
Great Satan, Jun 23 2003

       My pa tells a story about staying in a Spanish hotel where the showers (indoors) were salt water. I think they just lived with the corrosion.
bungston, Jun 23 2003

       I stayed in a hotel in Australia many years ago that used saltwater showers. The soap smelt just like vomit... shudder...
drakey, Jun 23 2003

       //saltwater showers// Inconcievable. Would you have to shower again, using a freshwater shower, when you're done showering?
Worldgineer, Jun 25 2004

       I'd be up to the individual.   

       Some might perfer no seawater, some might be satisfied with seawater only, some might use brackish water (mixing such as one would mix hot and cold for warm), and some might wash in saltwater and rinse a little with freshwater.   

       I'm thinking four taps here.
Great Satan, Jun 25 2004

       The big problem with this idea is that it ultimately will result in large amounts of saltwater going down the drains...   

       Since sewer water is treated before being dumped into lakes and rivers, this means that the treatment plants would then have to deal with much larger amounts of salt than normal.   

       The cost of sewage treatment would go up more than would the cost of purifying the salt water at a desalination plant, and adding the pure water to the freshwater supply.   

       Not to mention, the cost of all the extra pipes that would be needed to move all that salt water.
goldbb, Mar 22 2009

       I seem to remember that there's an island somewhere in Macaronesia which uses salt mains water, though i don't know why they'd do that. I think it'd be useful but not for the usual domestic purposes. Cooking in salt water all the time, even if diluted, would make hypertension more likely. It would be useful to have a cheap supply of salt and other minerals. Right now, i'm considering negotiating with someone to get salt from the sea by post, and i wouldn't have to do it. It would also make my home seaweed farm idea more viable, you could have rockpools instead of just ponds and saltwater aquariums would be easier to maintain. You'd have to be pretty careful not to knacker the soil with this. I can, however, imagine stockpiling salt and distilling water, though the energy use would be a bit daunting. And yes, you could grow halophytes like samphire, which would be great.
Having said all that, i really think the disadvantages outweigh the advantages quite a lot. I would like a small supply of saltwater though. It would help me make stuff with sodium.
nineteenthly, Mar 22 2009

       //salt from the sea by post//
or walk to the store and get sea-salt(?)... stuff I use comes from Italy (no clue why it has to come halfway 'cross the globe)
FlyingToaster, Mar 22 2009

       I'm aiming at self-sufficiency. I'm thinking right now of bartering with someone in Southampton to get hold of salt from there. A couple of family members go there regularly.
nineteenthly, Mar 22 2009

       Gibraltar has saltwater mains for flushing toilets, IIRC.
coprocephalous, Mar 24 2009

       That was it, but i think it also applies to the Canaries.
nineteenthly, Mar 24 2009

       //i think it also applies to the Canaries//
don't be silly - they just have old newspapers at the bottom of the cage.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Mar 24 2009

       Ever thought of holidaying in the Budgerigar Islands, [AWOL]?
nineteenthly, Mar 24 2009


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