A woman who set-up a simple system to catch and purify rainwater from her rooftop says that she gathers nearly enough water to avoid using the tap in her Austin, Texas home.
Jody Grenga hopes to limit her use of tap water to only 800 gallons this month. Her previous record, is 1,020 gallons this June, compared to the average single person in the area who uses up to 3,000 gallons a month. Grenga can’t reach her goal without strong conservation techniques. She does not water her lawn, only does laundry every three weeks, and takes most showers at Barton Springs pool after her daily swim.
Grenga uses the rainwater to supply herself, her mother, and their seven cats with drinking water. “I consider it liquid gold that falls out of the sky,” she said. “I’ve had one glass of tap water in the past year.”
The rainwater is collected through pipes into 14 barrels that line the house’s perimeter. Grenga purchased the filtration and purification supplies at wholesale prices, so the cost of the system was limited to $168. The Austin Water Utility promotes private rain capture by selling barrels for $60, a deeply-discounted price. Last year they sold 1,500 barrels, but this year the utility says they’ve already sold at least as many.
Despite the recent storms hitting Texas, total rainfall for the Austin area is only a little over half what it normally is this year. But Grenga is not concerned because of her large storage capacity.
For anyone interested in building their own system, this PDF document is a helpful guide to creating rainwater barrels out of recycled materials.