Dirty Little Secrets

Reykjavík sewage Veitur

I’d wager you’ll sit down at a toilet today. Who knows what you’re doing in there, but if you’re in Reykjavík – you’ll flush the remains. But have you ever wondered what happens after the flush? Where all of it goes? The short answer: out to sea. For the longest time, that was the long answer, as well, as sewage went untreated into the ocean.

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Residents of South Iceland Urged to Save Water

Dry soil in Kjósarhreppur

Several weeks of dry, sunny weather have put pressure on water supply systems in South Iceland, Vísir reports. Several municipalities in South Iceland have asked residents to avoid excessive use of water.

“We are encouraging people, especially in areas that are sparsely populated, to use water sparingly,” says Ágúst Sigurðsson, local council director of the municipality of Rangarþing ytra. Ágúst points out that the Pentecost long weekend brought a few thousand temporary residents to summer houses in the region, putting added pressure on its water systems. “When we add a few thousand new residents for a weekend, then we can’t answer the demand.”

When asked how residents can save water, Ágúst suggests avoiding making waterslides for kids or excessive watering of lawns. “It’s first and foremost about people not using water unnecessarily in this delicate time.”

Grass and soil dried out

In the Southwest Iceland municipality of Kjósarhreppur, it’s been more than three weeks without a drop of rain. In some areas, the soil has dried out so much that deep cracks have formed. “I’ve never seen this before. There are crevasses in the soil everywhere and it’s burned on top,” farmer Atil Snær Guðmundsson told RÚV. “The only thing saving us is the humidity that comes at night because of the temperature difference.”

Although it has been a month since fertiliser was spread over Atli’s fields, the grains still sit on the surface of the soil, waiting for the rain to dissolve them. Atli says many farmers in the area are considering mowing prematurely, before the grass dries out completely. The cows on the farm also require special attention in the heat, Atil explains. “That means sunscreen and plenty of it.”

Overall, though, he’s not too concerned about the weather’s effects. “It’ll rain in the end. It always does.”