*In French, ‘EAU' means water, ‘AUTARCIE' means AUTARKY, or a self-sufficient system independent of outside influences: EAUTARCIE, [pronounced « Oh-tar-see »] is therefore a neologism...
The EAUTARCIE concept is one of the possible forms of ecological sanitation with a distinct feature : instead of focusing on the problems, it seeks out simple, efficient and economical solutions, at the root of the problems. Another feature : it takes a holistic approach that examines diverse environmental impacts.
To visualize the general schematic of a PLUVALOR system, click here.
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The text within this page was first published on www.eautarcie.com : in 2003
The original text has since been adapted and first published on this page at www.eautarcie.org : 2009-06-15
Last update : 2010-05-26
From a technical point of view, the EAUTARCIE system deals with the implementation of autonomous water systems for homes. It is suitable for all households having a small yard or garden, even in urban communities. Its realization is less of a technical problem than it is of being open-minded to a new vision on water's management and use.
EAUTARCIE is more than a simple technical option: it is a leap towards free-spirited open-mindedness. It expresses a political standpoint that tackles present-day consumer-society, the « all-to-the-bin » logic and its analogous « all-to-the-sewer » philosophy. It is a way out of our « throw away » society of institutionalized irresponsibility.
In a house equipped with such a system, the household reclaims and reuses water that falls on the roof, for all domestic purposes, including human consumption. The subsequent household « grey water », is purified through a compact underground system and then infiltrated into the garden grounds. Grey water quality that has been treated this way often complies with recognized drinking water standards!
The traditional flush toilet is replaced by a third generation dry toilet: the biolitter toilet or BLT. The BLT finds its place even in the most luxurious houses, and its convenience is equivalent to that offered by a WC. Its cost can also be compared to that of a traditional WC.
Overall, an EAUTARCIE household does not have any significant impact on the hydrous environment: just as if it were not there. With regards to environmental protection, the implementation of the system has positive environmental impacts exceeding the most optimistic forecasts. The system is also transposable to urban districts. Cities equipped with EAUTARCIE would greatly lessen demand on traditional hydrous reserves, and practically eliminate water pollution caused by the housing sector.
EAUTARCIE is particularly interesting for dry and desert regions of the world, where almost all water extracted from existing reserves (including all grey wastewater produced) could be made available for agriculture, without wastage and without the least risk to public health.
In areas where good quality water is no longer available, the application of the techniques herein suggested can procure water of very high quality for human consumption, at a ridiculously low cost compared with the currently recommended techniques.
When removing flush toilet from the equation, and when appropriately treating toilet effluent with bio-controlling cellulose litter, people would effectively cease to be a vector of pollution by nitrates. Furthermore, the compost hence obtained could be used for all agricultural purposes, without medical / health risks, thus contributing to a reduction in the population's water requirements.
When applying the EAUTARCIE system in urban residential districts, it is possible to go without traditional sewerage systems by selectively treating grey water in yards or gardens, without the least harmful environmental or medical effect. Thus, the public expense of city sanitation would be limited to the installation of drainage infrastructures that need not be watertight, reserved to collect and treat storm-water runoff from city roads.
Within a household or group of households, you can distribute lower quality water for uses not fit for human consumption, and produce high quality drinking water from rainwater, in a decentralized way. A person needs only about 3 to 5 litres of drinking water per day. For other uses, water of lesser quality is quite adequate.
Even in desert areas, the production of high quality drinking water (fit for human consumption ), is possible thanks to appropriate rainwater storage and filtration.
EAUTARCIE is the fruit of approximately 20 years of scientific research made partly with the Faculty of Applied Science at the University of Lubumbashi (Congo) and at the University of Mons-Hainaut (Belgium). This portfolio of very simple and inexpensive techniques was tested during years in the field, and the various techniques of EAUTARCIE constitute the daily reality of thousands of households in Belgium and France.