Sunday, April 20, 2008

Floyd Earth Day news report

It’s All About Water

Roger MannonThe Floyd Press: News >Fri Apr 18, 2008 - 08:16 AM
by Wanda Combs Editor

Organizers of Floyd Earth Day 2008 Saturday want to bring community residents together to discuss local water concerns and such topics as rainwater management and conservation. The free event, sponsored by the Partnership for Floyd, will take place at Floyd County High School. “Our water supply in Floyd is diminishing,” comments Jack Wall, a Partnership board member. “Older wells are failing. The depth you’ve got to go to get water is always increasing.” The quantity of water in the county becomes an even greater concern, he adds, as more people move to the area and thus put added demands on the water supply. On Saturday several professionals will comment on various aspects related to the water issue in a panel discussion beginning promptly at 9:30 a.m. in the school auditorium. Fred First, who has coordinated the speakers and is serving as moderator for the discussion, will speak first on the natural culture of Floyd. Tammy Stevenson, Senior Water Supply Planner for the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, will have a slide presentation on water issues from the public policy point of view – how citizens prepare to get adequate quantity of water and how they conserve. Rupert Cutler from Roanoke will share knowledge gained through volunteer work on several commissions and boards. Jason Rutledge of Check will talk about sustainable forestry as it relates to water. A fifth speaker, David Crawford, representing Rainwater Solutions Company, will talk about systems for rainwater management. “In the old days, a lot of people around Floyd had cisterns,” Wall comments. “If we can collect our rainwater…use it for flushing toilets, washing cars…then we can save over 30 percent of the water we use.” Wall says it is easy to include rainwater systems in new homes, and it is affordable. He is including such a system at the Wall office building, being constructed on Franklin Pike in Floyd. The majority of the water use in that building will be rainwater collected off the roof. Wall adds it is also possible to add such systems to existing structures. Each of the presenters on the panel Saturday will have 20 minutes. After each presentation, the audience will be permitted to ask questions. After the panel discussion, the audience will also be able to approach the presenters on an individual basis or in small groups if desired. Various exhibitors will be set up in the lobby, old gym, and outdoors. Four-H’ers will also be selling food in the lobby. “We’re trying to make the Earth Day event an annual event,” Wall comments, “as a beginning point for discussion in our community, ways to protect our community.” Wall says the event will be community-focused and very accommodating. Most of the informational exhibits will be on water issues. There is an optional registration, which would put those interested on an email list to receive information going forward. Registration is planned from 9:00 until 9:30. Wall expects the event to continue until approximately 1:30 or 2:00. According to a survey of county residents in recent years, water was identified as the number one environmental issue, Wall notes. Quality of water is also an important consideration. “We have an unusual resource with our water….No water flows into here,” Wall remarks. “We have 100 percent responsibility for what we have.” The Partnership is considering climate changes as a possible topic for next year’s Earth Day event, Wall comments. Climate changes affect weather patterns. Differing weather patterns cause other problems, such as droughts. “If we’re developing systems to conserve out water, so we don’t deplete our ground water…we’ll be able to weather that better.” There is less ground today than there was 10 years ago, Wall adds. “It’s not uncommon to have a 600 or 800 foot well depth. “There’s less water….It will keep on getting worse. But we do have these techniques that are available to reduce the amount of demand on the groundwater.” Other information and registration information for exhibitors is available at a web site –, set up by Partnership member David St. Lawrence.