“It is the year with the least rain in the last 130 years in Villafranca del Penedes.”says the physicist and meteorologist Tony Mistress. But despite this, there is still water for several months. He uses it as a mouthwash, and uses it in bathing, cooking, and drinking:
“We have for 4 months. If we limited ourselves to drinking water only, we would reach one year of age. “In 2023, only 180 litres of rain fell, while the average here in the region is about 400 litres.”
Collect all the water you can, the first secret
Toni Mistris' house, located in the Pla del Diable neighborhood of Villafranca del Penedes, is clearly not a standard in many respects.
He was lucky enough to be able to design it from scratch. “It's no secret, it's the same design that the farmers here on the Penedes Plain had to make,” he says modestly. 200 or 300 years ago When they were building the house with tanks to collect rainwater:
“We were, 20 years ago, lucky enough to be able to buy this 500 square meter plot of land. There were 5 of us at home and we studied, Taking into account the average rainfall in the Penedès regionBecause when he gave us the land. “We came to the conclusion that we need 100 square meters per person.”
Two large water tanks, one for “dirty” water and the other for mouthwash, are the first part of the secret that allowed Tony Mistress Eliminate connection to the municipal water network for 20 years.
He built the foundation of the house in the form of a staircase to collect all the water and direct it to the tank where the water falling on the plot goes, but also the gray water. This is the water that will be filtered and used as irrigation water.
Mouth watering collection is made possible thanks to the large roof. When it rains, the first 5 liters are disposed of as running water, but after that it is usable:
“The water that falls on us from rain is the best water in the world. It is the mother of all waters, and there is nothing better than it. And of course in these 20 years, we haven't bought plastic bottles either.”
Before water consumption will pass Particle filter and two UV filters Installed in the attic. Also in the kitchen under the sink is a reverse osmosis system.
A dry toilet saves 30% of water
If this house has a “secret,” it's the dry toilet. “It's a German system, installed there in 3- and 4-storey buildings,” he explains, “There's no smell anymore, actually.” It smells less than a regular toilet“, Add.
A dry toilet essentially consists of a bowl on a downspout that sends feces to a third tank installed under the house. The fan generates very light air pressure in the direction of the hole and in this way unpleasant odors are avoided. And what ends up in this tank? It is also used in the form of fertilizer.
Restrictions since August
The exceptional drought of the past three years has also had serious consequences for Toni Mistris. “Because we saw that it was not raining In August, we stopped watering the orchard and garden“, he narrates. Then it's time to reduce waste in the bathroom:
“Here at home, we started restricting water use and water consumption in November. Reducing means making the most of it by getting wet first, turning off the shower, soaping up, then rinsing well. Don't be under water for 15 minutes while you lather up and rinse. “
Rainfall, an outstanding topic in Catalonia
Toni Mistris has been championing the MVP for years Use of rain water. He still remembers when they were in Villafranca digging a big hole for a municipal parking lot. He went to the city council and suggested they build another level to collect rainwater from the rooftops of surrounding houses:
“In Villafranca, the ground is clay and you don't have to cut a lot of stones. I told them that by spending maybe 10% more than the budget, they could create another staircase to store water, and connect a drainpipe to the building blocks. “They left it. I don't understand how we can spend millions of euros to store cars underground and not do it for the water tanks we will need. “There's nothing to think about.”
In fact, in December 2007, at the height of the latest drought in Catalonia, the TV3 media channel actually did a report with Toni Mestres visiting his home and showing it to him. It's been over 16 years, and no one seems to have learned any lessons. An interview that was also repeated in 2011 on the “Quèquicom” program.
At that time, still The tanks were supplied with 80% water for 12 months, in what was a normal year (409 liters were collected in Penedès, twice as much as in 2023 when only 188 liters of rain fell). Although there was slightly heavy rainfall in 2007, the lack of rainfall in 2007 mainly affected the headwaters of the rivers. Without water and snow in the mountains, which fills the reservoirs, Catalonia was dying of thirst.
In 2023 the situation became worse and some of the little rain that fell was lost again:
“It will be interesting to get water from the autumn rains, for example, which are very dense coastal and pre-coastal sprays. “Now all this water goes straight into the sea.”
The physicist adds: “Whoever manages public money must understand this It's a recurring thing And that one day there will be a greater drought and something must be done. And do it, not now when there is a water shortage, but in good times.”
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