Culture

Published on September 5th, 2008 | by joshuashill

8

Collecting Rainwater Becomes a ‘Thing’

2632258770_a3a1fdcc1aJust as technology continues to infiltrate the masses, becoming less and less a geeks toy, so environmental consciousness and awareness continue to spread. For some, it might be as simple as bringing calico bags to the supermarket. For others, it is taking your house off the grid and growing your own veggies.

But one area that a lot of families and households are stepping up in is the collection of rainwater.

It isn’t like this is a new activity either. Our ancestors would have spent a lot of effort to collect rainwater, to save themselves the need to trek down to the river or well. But now, it’s happening because across the planet, drought conditions are making life more and more difficult.

MSNBC ran a story that sparked my desire to write about this. They wrote of people, specifically in Texas, North Carolina and California, stockpiling water during the rainier times. But the desire to save water is really a planetwide activity.

Here in Australia, it’s common practice now to step into the shower with a bucket at your feet. Rubbish bins are wheeled under gutter runoff when the rains get heavy, and a large majority of watering the plants is fed by Monday’s rain.

Those who take it a step further turn off the tap in the toilet, and fill up the tank with gray water from showers.

Apparently, the city of San Francisco will be putting $100,000 towards running how-to workshops on collecting water. They’ll also be offering rebates and discounts on rainwater catchment tanks. Here in Australia, such rebates and discounts have been commonplace for a year or two now, and the two big home-hardware stores are always running a how-to of some sort.

So, if you’re not doing your part to save some water, what’s your excuse?

credit: fireballsedai at Flickr under a Creative Commons license

More on Home Sustainability at the GO Network

My Private, Sustainable Mini Mart: Go Green with a Stocked Pantry
The Art of Self-Reliance: Bloggers Document Urban Homesteading Movement
Low Impact Living: Spend $100 on Green Upgrades, Save $500



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  • http://www.bagitagain.com Johnny_A

    I’ve heard that cisterns are common in Australia as well. One of my goals is to place an underground tank at the end of my house foundation drain to collect the water. Put a little pump house on top, and no more precious drinking water will be used for irrigation.

  • http://www.greenlabron.com greg

    In the house we’re building in Dallas, we’ll have two 2500 gallon cisterns fed from 100% of our roof. The water will be used for irrigation and clothes washing. A new drought-friendly landscape will drop our irrigation needs by 66% according to the LEED for Homes calculation. We will spend about $8800 on the system, but save over $1500/month in water bills. You can read more about our house at http://www.greenlabron.com

    PS: We’re also installing dual flush toilets (a novelty in the US, but commonplace in Australia as I learned when I visited a couple of months ago), and low flow everything else!

  • http://www.greenlabron.com greg

    Oops…I meant $150/month in water bills. If it was $1500/month I should have been put in jail a long time ago!

  • steve

    I’ve heard of this before what a great idea. it’s too bad this isn’t more common however it’s never too late to start! if you’re interested in other easy ways to conserve water and energy in your home visit http://additup.yoozur.com

    keep it green!

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  • http://www.rainwaterpillow.com Cecie

    Here in Atlanta, I am collecting 1,000 gallons per inch of rain and storing it in 3 large pillows (3,300 gallon capicity) in my crawl space. My system is fully automatic and runs my irrigation system. No watering restrictions for me !!

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