The porous asphalt of Pringle Creek Community contrasted with the city street.

You’ve probably heard about the problem of water shortages in the American Southwest. Here is “Time, Water Running Out for America’s Biggest Aquifer,” an article about unsustainable use of the Ogallala aquifer in the Great Plains. It will affect the food supply, so there is plenty to worry about.

Here in western Oregon we’re blessed with ample rainfall. Day after day, all winter long–blessed. But it’s still important to conserve water and reduce runoff, slow it down so that creeks are protected and the aquifer is replenished. Pringle Creek Community is designed to do those things as a key part of our sustainable initiatives. And when cities have to repair, replace, or expand stormwater infrastructure it can cost a ton of money. In Salem, ratepayers’ water and sewer bills go up 8% a year on average, and these bills are based on water consumption, so these initiatives will save money.

Green roofs like the ones at Pringle Creek reduce heat and provide habitat for butterflies and birds. They absorb rainwater, reducing runoff.

Green streets of pervious asphalt or concrete, along with blue-green bio-swales and gravel verges, provide conditions that allow 95 percent of rainwater to infiltrate naturally into the aquifer and dramatically reduce stream pollution from runoff and storm drains. Click here to see a pdf diagram of Pringle Creek’s green streets.

Geo-thermal loop will take water from the aquifer and circulate it to 70 homes where ground source heat pumps will extract up to 10 degrees of heating or cooling without touching the water, then will re-inject it to the aquifer.

Native plants and drought tolerant landscaping require less water.

Rainwater collection around individual homes and commercial buildings use rainwater indoors for commodes and outdoors for irrigation of gardens.