Harvest Time for Rainwater

by Paul Rose

paul-roseRainwater harvesting covers many applications, from small and simple projects to large, complex ones. The California drought has residents realizing their water needs are demanding their some attention. Cambria residents, with their drastic need for water (and its high cost), have more water collection systems than anywhere else in San Luis Obispo county. Our recent October rainstorm gave most systems just enough water to fill their storage more than half way.

And this brings us to an important concept: Storage is the hardest part. The size of your rainwater harvest system is based on your usage, your available space, and the amount you are willing to pay. Average storage containers cost about a dollar ($1) per gallon.

If you have a sloping property, that will help your rainwater collection system. Consulting a professional experienced with water collection systems is important. If you are installing a smaller system with minimal storage, you could experiment with a design yourself, but an experienced professional can save you time and money.

Permits are required for any system that has over 5000 gallons of storage. If you intend the water for indoor use, a permit and a water treatment system is mandatory, even if it’s just for flushing a toilet. Permits are also needed for sprinkler irrigation use to place the stored water on the ground surface. However, if you are using a drip irrigation system, you won’t need a permit if your storage is less than 5000 gallons. SLO Green Build has created a guide that can help with many of the specifics. This printed guide can be purchased and shipped to you for $13, or downloaded for free. This manual will give you basic guidelines for developing your system, such as how to estimate the amount of water you will harvest per inch of rain.

Water is one of our most precious resources. At Semmes and Co. Builders, Inc. we work on learning the most current technologies that affect the use and development of our systems and resources. Combining these systems into a cohesive package for each individual home is our forte.

For more information about Rainwater Harvesting, contact Paul Rose.