As I witnessed the buckets of water falling from the sky, splatting onto the roof tiles of my neighbor’s home, pouring from the roof gutter to the corner downspout, dropping into a PVC pipe and rushing underneath the thirsty, if not already dead landscape, then directed into the concrete swale adjacent to the curb and flooding the storm water drain from both sides, I was reminded of the simple practice and benefits of harvesting rainwater. Within seconds, a droplet of rainwater falls from the sky and into a manmade pipe that exits out into the ocean. Water that could be reused and provide positive ecological and environmental practices is literally being swept under our feet before we know it.
As you probably already know, California is in one of the biggest droughts we have EVER seen. Although I know we can make the case for the huge positive impacts of our current storm water management, there is a time to reassess our storm water practices, and I believe that time is now. Our current rainwater practices aren’t contributing to the astronomical potential of the reuse of rainwater. The hydrologic cycle is being sped up instead of slowed down to take full advantage of the limited rainwater we do receive.
All that being said, you may ask.. what exactly is rainwater harvesting? And is it practical for me to invest in the harvesting of rainwater? I am glad you asked :)
What is rainwater harvesting and its potential and practical use?
Rainwater harvesting is the collection of rainfall which falls on the roof of your home and stores it for future use. In a typical Central Coast residential landscape, a homeowner with 2,000 square feet of roof space can store and reuse, on average, 25,000 gallons per year... enough to maintain a 400 square foot lawn and 100 landscape plants!
Why should we harvest rainwater?
· FREE source of water.
· Water your landscape all year without drawing from your well or local water supply.
· Readily available water storage for fire suppression.
· Onsite emergency water storage.
· Minimizes your environmental footprint.
· Rainwater is pure, soft, and reduces corrosion on irrigation lines.
· Develop a landscape that is self-sustaining.
· Recharge the aquifer instead of sending your rainwater directly into the ocean.
Imagine, if one region of the United States (let’s say the Central Coast) implemented rainwater harvesting in their homes, commercial buildings, schools, etc. Myself and the Purlieu team have calculated and discovered that its return on investment is very similar to solar panels. We have found that some of our recent rainwater harvesting systems will provide a full turn in investment within 5 years! Sounds pretty sweet…
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Thank you for reading. Have a wonderful day!