Rainwater harvesting is one of the world's oldest water supply methods and it is currently enjoying a revival in popularity. Rain has long been valued as a superior quality water because it is soft, free of sodium and chemicals, and is excellent for landscape use. Collecting rain also reduces flooding and can help utilities reduce peak demands during summer months.
Many early homes and ranches in south Texas had rainwater cisterns, but the practice began to fall out of favor as modern municipal supply systems and better well drilling technologies developed in the 20th century. Today, many urbanites have never even seen a rainwater collection system up close. As you browse these links, think of how you might use harvested rainwater.
Do-it-yourself rain barrels can easily be made by using a simple set of directions provided free by the Spring Branch Bulverde Family Lions Club; to get your copy click here or visit their website at: www.SBBLions.com. As a public service project, the SBB Family Lions Club also makes and inexpensively sells low-cost completed rain collection barrels (see thier website).
The Rainwater Harvesting website for the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service is superb! Their, and our, goal is to educate the public about rainwater harvesting and other water-related issues so that we can have a sustainable water supply for generations to come. This website link takes you to a wealth of information about rainwater harvesting basics (including videos), upcoming events and programs, as well as locations where you can see a rainwater harvesting demonstration site in person. To visit this site click the link or enter this URL into your browser:
Here are some facts about the Citizen’s State Bank cistern in Navasota, TX. Rainwater is collected, or “harvested” to supply water for landscape irrigation only. Their design is based on native Texas plant species and grasses that have minimal watering requirements. The capacity of the cistern is about 5,600 gallons and the square footage of the roof capture area is 2,357 which would collect 1,461 gallons of rainwater per one inch of rainfall. Because the efficiency of any rainwater system typically ranges from 75% to 90%, the approximate amount of water the cistern collects per year is between 44,936 and 53,922 gallons – or an average of 50,000 gallons per year. For more information on this rain harvesting case study click the link or click here.
Texas Manual on Rainwater Harvesting
The depletion of groundwater sources, the poor quality of some groundwater, high tap fees for isolated properties, the flexibility of rainwater harvesting systems, and modern methods of treatment provide excellent reasons to harvest rainwater for domestic use. The scope of this Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) manual is to serve as a primer in the basics of residential and small-scale commercial rainwater harvesting systems design. It is intended to serve as a first step in thinking about options for implementing rainwater harvesting systems, as well as advantages and constraints. To download a copy of this manual click the link or click here.
Rainwater harvesting is great for your yard and your wallet. With the economy still suffering, many Texans are looking for any and all means of saving money. Though the winter months require less watering for lawn and garden, it's not too early to plan for spring by considering options that will save you both time and money. Rainwater harvesting is a great way to help conserve our existing water resources, decrease the risk of run-off, erosion, contaminated surface water and flooding all while reducing your utility bills. Rainwater is ideal for watering your lawn, plants, and vegetable gardens because it is free of salts, disinfectant by-products, harmful minerals and other contaminants. To visit this site click the link or enter this URL into your browser:
There are many reasons to harvest rainwater. But this one in particular comes to mind; a house with a 1,000-square-foot roof can yield about 600 gallons of rainwater from just 1 inch of rainfall. That's a lot of water! Now consider all the rooftops in your neighborhood and imagine how much water is running down the street into our rivers and streams. Stormwater runoff can become a problem in some areas, causing flooding, eroding banks of rivers and streams, and carrying pollutants into them. Harvesting rainwater can help prevent some of this. For a copy of the Forgotten Recource flyer click the link or click here.
(Click here or paste the following link into your browser to estimate how much your roof might collect. http://catchtexasrain.com/index.php?page=calculator)
There are many reasons to create landscapes in our yards - to add softness to the harsh angles of a home, to make the transition from the natural environment to the built environment appear more seamless, to abide by deed restrictions for foundation planting or simply to foster a passion for gardening. In the natural terrain, rainwater (also called storm water) soaks into the soil, provides water for plants and moves the remaining water far below the surface, also known as groundwater recharge. The water is filtered by the plants and soil before it enters rivers, streams, bayous or lakes. As we develop the land, however, we create lots of impervious surfaces (places where water cannot penetrate), like parking lots, roadways, roofs and sidewalks. These cause water to run off more quickly - not allowing for much absorption - and to arrive at the nearest body of water in greater volume, contributing to flooding. The runoff often carries with it things that pollute our waterways such as synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, soil from erosion, oil and grease from cars, and pet waste. We created the problem but landscaping an area as a rain garden is a beautiful solution to effectively managing storm water where it falls. For more information on this raingardens click the link or click here.
Texas Manual on Rainwater Harvesting