Last year I experienced the forest wilting before my eyes and saw hundreds of crispy plants in my community. If this summer is a repeat of last, we are in for major water restrictions. Before you begin shopping for a rain barrel or build an elaborate system, there are a few basic things you should know. To begin with, there are two types of rainwater collection systems: Active and Passive.
For active systems, rainwater is collected and stored in tanks either above or below ground. Active systems typically have six basic components:
For passive systems, rainwater is channeled to low areas with no storage tanks involved. Passive systems are a more natural approach to rainwater collection using swales, low basins, or infiltration cells. Typically, water is collected and channeled by gravity and delivered to trees, plants and ground covers to reduce the need for irrigation. Types of passive systems are:
Rain barrels: For small planting beds or container pots, a simple rain barrel should be sufficient. If you already have gutters and downspouts you’re half way there. Now all you need is a stable base to place your rain barrel. When shopping for a rain barrel, be sure that it is labeled food-grade.
Tanks: If you have a large landscape area to irrigate, choose an above or below ground system large enough to hold the amount of water you need.
Artistic Flair: If you want to collect water with style, consider a design with artistic features. Did you know BauerCombs Landscape Architecture www.bauercombs.com designs rainwater catchment systems with an artistic flair? Our landscape architect, Susan Combs Bauer is an accredited rainwater catchment professional certified with ARCSA (American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association). If you’re interested, please contact us soon.
Container Size: To determine the amount of rainwater you can collect depends on the square footage of your catchment surface (typically the roof area). To estimate the amount of gallons you can potentially collect for 1-inch of rainfall, refer to my handy-dandy quick reference guide below.
I hope you found this information helpful and are considering a rainwater catchment system for your home or business. If you found this helpful, please let me know and ‘like’ below.
Yikes, low rainfall again! Should I collect rainwater? Author: Susan Combs Bauer, landscape architect and president of BauerCombs & Associates, Inc. “Connecting People to Nature by Design”. www.bauercombs.com
Susan Combs Bauer, Landscape Architect www.bauercombs.com