Blanco County News
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Thinking About Rainwater Collection?
Paragon C&D Builders / Vallone Real Estate
Wednesday, November 5, 2008 • Posted November 4, 2008 10:00 PM

Rainwater collection is an ancient technology. Cisterns date back to the pre-biblical times. Today cisterns are common on old homesteads, as well as being built to look old at new sites.

It is back by popularity to preserve our current water supply and valued for its purity. It has a nearly neutral pH, and is free from disinfection by-products, salts, minerals, and other natural and man-made contaminants. Rainwater is superior in irrigation, and helps those household appliances last longer. Rainwater is also Sodium-free, a benefit for persons on restricted sodium diets.

According to a publication from Texas Water Development Board; “The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Research Center in Austin, Texas, harvests 300,000 gallons of rainwater annually from almost 19,000 sq ft of roof collection area for irrigation of its native plant landscapes. A 6,000-gallon stone cistern and its arching stone aqueduct form the distinctive entry to the research center.”

There are various levels of collections. A simple barrel collecting for irrigation of a garden or plants can be set up by catching dew and rain off a Metal roof, garage, barn, carport, etc. A more complex system can be installed by professionals. This process includes gutters, pipes, storage tanks or cisterns, filtering, pump(s) and water treatment of use.

Storage tanks are the most expensive component of the rainwater harvesting system. There are various sized, tank materials, catchment surface area, aesthetics, and budgets to consider. Some materials used today for tanks are: Fiberglass, Wood, Polypropylene, Metal, concrete, and stone-and-mortar. Some of these tanks can actually be placed in-ground. It is highly recommended that prior to making your final selection to consult with a professional.

How much water can be captured? In theory, approximately 0.62 gallons per sq ft of collection surface per inch of rainfall can be collected. Catchment area and rainfall determine supply, and demand dictates required storage capacity.

Studies preformed on 1,200 single-family homes in 1999 found that the average water conserving households used approximately 49.6 gallons per person per day.

Some appliances can help in the conservation of water. Hot water on demand is a popular method for heating water rather than using the hot water heater. This method eliminates the waste of running water and waiting for it to get hot. A Front loading clothes washers is another energy efficient appliance. Some Toilets have various energy savers within them.

The Texas legislature has passed bills, and some local taxing entities have adopted rules that provide tax exemptions for rainwater harvesting system. Always check with your local authorities to see if you get any exemptions.

For additional info on Rainwater Harvesting, check with your local builders or water collection companies. Look at the Texas Water Development Board site (some information was taken from this site and they have a lot more details).

http://www.twdb.state.tx.us/publications/reports/RainwaterHarvestingManual_3rdedition.pdf.

Always look at the Texas Registered Commission Construction site for licensed and registered builders- http://www.trcc.state.tx.us or by calling 877-651-TRCC. Make sure your builder carries insurance - ask them.. For additional help, information, or services contact Debbie at 830-833-4249 or dhomeier@moment.net .

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