Rainwater harvesting

Mysore, India(Zone 10a)

I'm thinking of investing some money on this project since there will be acute shortage of water from all sources here in my part of the country (India) on a regular basis every summer from hereon (hope the situation does not lead to wars!!). Anybody here done it? Any simple ideas to make my own project? There is an engineer here who can make one but still, I'm looking for newer ideas.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Not sure what exactly you mean by 'rainwater harvesting'...

When we had drought conditions here, I used 55 gallon plastic barrels under my downspouts to collect rainwater. I installed a hose bibb near the bottom of each barrell so I could attach a garden hose and use the water in the garden.

I saw a cool collection/cistern idea from the Univ. of Fla (I think(. If I can find it, I'll post the link back here.

Mysore, India(Zone 10a)

Meant the rooftop water that flows down through the pipes. Yea, may be something like you have mentioned. The engineer that I referred there had used a conical filter that keeps out dry leaves away as well as a separate chamber to collect the first few gallons of the season's first rain to keep the dirt out.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Dinu, here's the site I remembered: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/BODY_AE029
Click on the drawings to enlarge them.

L.A. (Canoga Park), CA(Zone 10a)

Our house doesn't have gutters but there is a spot where it pours off the porch pretty good. We collect and save rain water in just about anything that has a lid, but mainly we have water in a trash barrel and a bunch of gallon milk jugs. Our tap water isn't all that expensive and we can't save nearly enough water to last us through the dry season but I use the water for the plants under the porch roof (that never get rained on) and plants that do better if they don't get hard water. We don't filter the water and it doesn't really matter to me if it grows algae or there is dirt because we won't be drinking it.

My grandparents had a cistern at their house (40 inches average annual precipitation there and no distinct dry season). They used this water for everything at the house except drinking. The cistern was an underground concrete thing. Sometimes the water would smell kind of funny, but again, we didn't drink it.

Madison, WI(Zone 4b)

This is a pretty simple idea, I dont know if its what your are looking for.

http://www.geocities.com/rainsystem/howto.html

Denver, CO(Zone 6a)

I know the harvest rainwater in California. In Colorado it is illegal. Can you believe that? Because we have been a drought for the last five years there has been some interest in it but the water that falls does not "belong" to just anyone. It belongs to the persons that own the watershed where the rain water runs off into.
http://www.rainwaterharvesting.org/
http://www.rmi.org/sitepages/pid287.php

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Mobi... What a Crock that is! I cannot believe it is illegal to collect rainwater on your own land.

Tonasket, WA(Zone 5a)

Dinu, I wrote a message to you this morning but before it went out lost my connection. So will try again. I planted the seeds you sent me this morning. Hopt to see them germinating soon.

It snowed here most of the day, but was quite warm for snow so most melted. I want it to be SPRING. Actually we have had some pretty nice days, but always on a day I was not able to go out to the garden and do gardening chores.

I have a rain barrell that collects water from half or my garage roof. I use it to water in my greenhouse and flower pots. In the winter has to be disconnected so won't freeze. Hope you have good luck with your water saving project. Donna

Mysore, India(Zone 10a)

Thanks a lot everyone. My RWH project is complete now. I had to be away from office for nearly two weeks (but in between, I dug out hole for my pond - that is another different story in another thread!). I installed 3 barrels (200 litres each) in three different places where there were downspouts (one collection trough I had to install) ready (I had to break the 92-year old zinc pipe - it showed how strong it still was after all these years!). Already there were two rains after that. Noticed a few leaks that need rectification. Man, water flows down with such force! For filteration, I have used a metal screen and in a couple of places with sponge. I have tried the pebbles/charcoal/sand/sponge method for filter in one place and this too needs some proper attention. Hope to post pictures of my project - will take a bit of time though. Those links provided above were pretty useful.

Mysore, India(Zone 10a)

Thanks a lot everyone. My RWH project is complete now. I had to be away from office for nearly two weeks (but in between, I dug out hole for my pond - that is another different story in another thread!). I installed 3 barrels (200 litres each) in three different places where there were downspouts (one collection trough I had to install) ready (I had to break the 92-year old zinc pipe - it showed how strong it still was after all these years!). Already there were two rains after that. Noticed a few leaks that need rectification (My own crude ways of using odd things like a PET bottle and things like that!). Man, water flows down with such force! For filteration, I have used a metal screen and in a couple of places with sponge. I have tried the pebbles/charcoal/sand/sponge method for filter in one place and this too needs some proper attention. Hope to post pictures of my project - will take a bit of time though. Those links provided above were pretty useful. In one the links (rainwaterharvesting.org) I was so pleased to read the paper on the subject by Mr.Ravikumar. In fact it was he who gave a lecture in our Institute on this subject (our Inst. also plan to undertake this project from him). In fact it was my engineer-friend who inspired this man and they are great friends. They are all from Mysore!

Fort Pierce, FL(Zone 10a)

There is NO water on the island of Bermuda. The pictures of the houses on the island are so beautiful because they all have white roofs. When you see them up close the roofs are formed with a shallow trough that spirals around and down and feeds into an underground cistern. The roofs are white because they are painted with (I think) lime wash to purify the water as it flows. If I were facing years of draught (that might even lead to wars) I think this would be a permanent solution. Key West FL used the underground cisterns for years until they built the plant to convert sea water.

Mysore, India(Zone 10a)

That is an interesting piece of information. Lime is a good disinfectant and is used extensively to white-wash houses here. Even the rooftops are plastered with lime mortar. But you can find this only in old houses. Nowadays, cement and all kinds of synthetic paints are replacing lime.

If all houses have such water collection systems, then there should be no problems of shortage. It rained last night and I studied where my works erred. There were a couple of leaks and I rectified them. If one sits back and thinks, the amount of water that go wasted unused.... that is a lot of water from one single spell of rain!!

I have put a curved wire mesh screen to prevent all the leaves and thick dirt from entering the pipe at the first stage itself. The wind carries all the leaves and little twigs and small flowers into the balconies.

Gardena, CA

Hey Mobi: You are the first time that I have heard of it being illegal to harvest rainwater. What do they do???? Fine you or take away your water. I am here in So Cal and as you probably know, we are also in the same 5 year drought. About 10" of rain last year and it all comes between November and March. I have two 50 gal barrels to collect rain off the garage roof. I use a trap. like one might have under the sink to catch sediment, to fill the first and cap it off. The second is merely a barrel that I scoop out into a sprinlker can. Of course this only lasts for about 6 weeks after it stops raining. I pay about $20 a month for water in the winter and up to over $55 a month in the summer. Every little bit helps. this year, I have used drip irrigation to water what I need. My back yard looks like little oasis around all the fruit trees in the middle of a desert. Ha. I just wish I had more rain water to collect. I have diverted the runoff from the washing machine to irrigate the side yard and would like to add that Tide Soap is great for amending the soil. Great patch of Marathon II grass grows there. I am envious of all you Southern people that have so much water to spare. Well, maybe not. I do have a 12 month growing season....

Houston, TX

Along the same lines...There is something that you might be interested to know about called a groundwater still. This is to be used in an emergency, and is a survival technique.

Simply dig a hole in the earth, assuming there is no fecal matter nearby, and place a large bowl in the bottom. Cover the hole with black plastic or a black oiled tarp. Weigh it down all around the edges with rocks, for example, and allow it to dip in the middle. The heat from the sun will cause water to evaporate out of the earth, collect on the plastic, and drip down into the bowl.


Park Forest, IL(Zone 5b)

Neat Pinklotus,
I'm tempted to try this as an experiment just to see if it works. Have you ever tried it with sucess? Would it be possible to drink it in emergecies?
I have a 55 gallon rainbarrel and I think I read somewhere in an emergency if you need drinking wateryou can add iodine to the rain barrel to make the water drinkable. I'm going to check that out.

Dinu,
can't wait to see pictures of your project. Happy harvesting!
GG

Fort Pierce, FL(Zone 10a)

In Florida (for hurricanes) they advise filling your bathtub with water and adding Clorox. It's just a small amount, but it makes it safe to drink.
Pati

Pocola, OK(Zone 7a)

In Mobi's defense, there is a grain of truth to his/her statement that it is illegal to gather rainwater in Colorado. Apparently rainwater off of a roof is not a problem. They don't want you to catch more than the minimal amount, whatever that is. This conversation in this website pretty much explains it. http://csf.colorado.edu/forums/essa/sep97/0003.html
About two-thirds of the way down is a statement from a Kevin Torphy that pretty much clears it up. " Using catchwater is legal if it is such a small amount that it does not affect the water table, ie the roof of your house
is a tiny area and the water caught there would be Insignificant."

Another interesting thread: http://www.ibiblio.org/london/renewable-energy/mailarchives/greenbuilding2/msg00459.html

This website supports the illegal statement as well.
http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/natres/06702.html

Sierra Vista, AZ(Zone 8a)

Go to www.ag.arizona.edu/cochise/waterwise It will give you a lot of info. on water harvesting.

Soufriere, Saint Lucia(Zone 11)

Hello everybody,

I'm new to DG. We are presently building a house on the island of St-Lucia in the Caribbean. There, it is obliged by law to collect rainwater into cisterns. The roofs are built with a collection trough. The raiwater there is drinkable and people just put in a couple of chlorine pellets to keep it safe.

Some have cement cisterns built under the house; others have a large plastique container installed above ground.

I'm presently in Montreal, Canada (will be moving to St-Lucia shorthly). During the Summer months I collect rainwater in large plastic barrels. To prevent too much evaporation I keep them in a very shady area of the yard. To keep the water from spoiling I do not use a lid and cultivate a couple of aquatic plants in them: one to oxygenate the water and another that floats on top. It works very well for me.

(sorry for spelling - i'm French)

Hope this is helpful to someone.

Fort Pierce, FL(Zone 10a)

Ginbar, WELCOME to Dave's Garden. What a lovely island you are moving to! I hope you will share pictures of your home, and you will be the envy of all of us with your tropical plants.

Usually Florida has plenty of rain, but it is so scarce in my area this year that I water daily, sometimes twice, and have pots out to collect any rain when it does fall.
Pati

Mysore, India(Zone 10a)

Welcome to DG, Ginbar. Harvesting rainwater will surely benefit you, under the law or not. I had posted picture of my tank and filters in the other thread. Filtering is necessary here as my house is in a very busy area where traffic is a nuisance. Very dusty. So I have used sand, sponge, charcoal to filter it as it flows in. The water is absolutely clear and the tank - made of brick and cement - has a lid. Keeping it closed will prevent dust and insects from entering the water. I am surprised about the plants being grown. But in my case, due to dust, I have to keep it covered.

Dinu

Central FL, FL(Zone 9b)

Pati, I'm surprised there aren't water use restrictions in Ft. Pierce. Where I live (near Orlando), we're supposed to water only twice a week..even if you have a well, which we do. I'm going to leave a garbage can out to catch the water...if it ever rains...so I can give the garden more than it's getting. We collected water off the roof in a 55 gal. garbage can during the hurricanes and used that to replenish the water in the bathtub. We didn't use that water for anything but toilet flushing. Since we had no electricity, the well pump wasn't working. When I have more time, I'll post an unpleasant cistern experience I had once in Venezuela.

Inland S.E QLD , Australia

HI everyone,Drought ....seems to be the norm here in Aus these days I don't think there are too many parts of the country,except in the far north which aren't,even our major cities (mostly on the eastern seaboard)are feeling the full extent of the dry with severe water restrictions in place,which was until recently an unknown.People are now required to water their gardens from a bucket,hoses are out ...there is a full ban on them at present.No rain has fallen in the water catchment areas in a long time......therefore these are nearly all but dry,....seems to be on the news nightly......up until recently there were still (some) people out there(city)who took water for granted as if it was an infinite source and had no realization or thoughts really of where it came from.Water tanks were banned or not encouraged in these same cities(pollution reasons maybe)now they.....powers that be......are doing their best to encourage every home owner to purchase at least one,to harvest water from the house roof.........even with the enticement of a rebate on their rate payment.Out in the country areas most people have water tanks...as these can be the only form of water catchment and drought has always been in our vocabulary.I live in town myself so we are still lucky to have mains water which is derived from a bore(well)When you all talk about watercatchment .......don't you have waterstorage tanks....like here....they can be corregated iron,fibreglass or cement and range in size from small100gals or so to thousands of gallons.............,an inch of rain on the roof can fill up a lot of those small containers you have mentioned.All the best...Judy.

Defuniak Springs, FL

I bought 2 gutterless rain barrels from this site:
http://www.ne-design.net/

They also have some that you hook up to your downspouts. Mine are already full after 2 good thunderstorms here in northwest Florida.

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