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Site Updated Decembe 21, 2008

New Site Additions:

  • Updated Statues and Regulations with Pending Plumbing Regulations for GA and Stormwater Management/Rainwater Harvesting Technical Guide for NC. Thank you Sarah for sending over >> more
  • Older article, but good summary of rainwater catchment projects using stormwater >> more
  • Rainbarrel to Toilet - How to Guide >> more
  • A continent-wide rainwater harvesting programme is called for >> more

Green Roofs Differ in Building Cooling, Water Handling Capabilities A study of six different manufacturers' products found the green roofs varied greatly in capabilities such as how much they cooled down a building's interior and how much rainwater they captured during downpours. >> more

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Pump Systems for Rainwater Catchment
by Verne Wood, CEO of PWS, Inc, Keaau, Hawaii

Understanding how water gets from the catchment tank to the faucet can help people on rainwater catchment systems feel more comfortable with their system and be more self-reliant.

A normal pump system is composed of a pump, a pressure tank, a pressure switch, and a check valve. These main components all work together automatically to supply pressurized water to your point of use.

Catchment pump systems draw water from the tank, pressurize it, and store it in a pressure tank until you need it. There is a one-way valve called a check valve (also called a foot valve) between the water tank and the pump; >> more

Alternative Water Sources

An excellent overview article on the different sources of available water appeared in a recent edition of the Environmental Building News (EBN). The article opens by drawing the case for “alternative sources” due to climate change, growing population and current unsustainable groundwater extractions. It then briefly mentions the need for efficiency and the different uses of water (i.e. potable and nonpotable), but then quickly dives directly into the review of the different sources of “new” water (e.g. graywater, rainwater, air conditioner condensation, mechanical equipment blowdown, treated wastewater, and desalination). >> more

Residential Gutter Sizing
by Doug Pushard

Gutter sizing is an aspect of rainwater collection that has been studied extensively and can be calculated based on published guidelines in the plumbing codes. With water weighing over 8 pounds a gallon, it poses a very real threat to a house and it’s inhabitants. The weight of rainwater standing on a roof has caused many a roof to collapse, so the gutter/drainage system must be capable of draining the roof fast enough so that the structural limits of the roof are not exceeded. To determine system sizing alternatives, know the roof size that is to be drained. In a typical home with two slopes, each side will have gutters and be sized separately. >> more

Harvest Rain - The Movie
review by Doug Pushard

An extremely very well made DVD by The Cuenca Los Ojos Foundation highlights the connection of rain, surface water and groundwater; and how rain can actually heal the land if properly managed. The foundation works to preserve and restore the biodiversity of the borderland region between the United States and Mexico through land protection, habitat restoration and wildlife reintrodion. This beautiful 30-minute movie, is great for all ages, and depicts the changing of the land with the introduction of passive rainwater catchment, not in decades, but in just a few years. It is a powerful and awe inspiring visual testament to the art of passive rainwater harvesting.>>more

Rainwater Harvesting and Rural Development: The CIDECALLI Prototypes
by Femke Love Oldham

This paper details efforts in Mexico to build prototype systems of various sizes that can supply fresh, clean potable water to households, farms and small communities.

The average annual rainfall across the entire national territory of Mexico is 1,500 cubic kilometers of water. With only 3% of this quantity, there is the ability to supply 13 million people and 50 million animals with clean water. Additionally, this small percentage of the total rainfall would irrigate 18 million hectares of crops. The broad and somewhat surprising potential of rain motivated the creation of the International Center for Demonstration and Training in Rainwater Harvesting (CIDECALLI) and the creation of different size prototypes to create solutions for local communities in Mexico. >>more

Making Raingutters Work!
Why gutter protection should be standard on every home.

At HPS we receive a lot of requests for information about gutters and how to best take care of them. Rain gutters are quiet but critical components of a building’s roofing system. They have the important job of capturing rainwater at the roof edge then controlling and directing it away from the structure. Uncontrolled water running off the roof and blowing back onto the exterior surfaces can be damaging in a whole host of expensive ways including: flooding, foundation settlement, soil erosion, dryrot, paint damage, window, door and siding damage. >>more

Conveyance - Simple or Complex
by Doug Pushard

Conveyance, in a rainwater harvesting system (RWH), carries the rain from the roof (i.e. the capture system) to the storage tank (i.e. the holding system). Sounds simple, but it can range from being almost nonexistent to extremely sophisticated and attractive. >> more

Who’s up for drinking some rain?
By Ksenia Prints CUP Central Bureau Chief

In the mad dash to stop global warming and increase conservation, people resort to come crazy ideas. Yet a simple green building initiative called rainwater harvesting helps brings us one step closer to a vibrant and ecological landscape.>> more

Cross Connection
by Caigan McKenzie

The following article is an excerpt of an article that appeared in the Fall 2007 edition of On Tap magazine. Cross connections are a critical system component that may be a requirement for anyone installing a rainwater system more >>

Gentle Irrigation
by Ed Fenzel

First, you need to identify the types of plants in your garden and their watering requirements. Next, you need to map out the irrigation zones by plant type and function - tree, shrub, groundcover - then note the category - ornamental, native, edible, or container plant. The technical considerations for a drip system are: I) existing pipe size 2) gallons per minute available (also known as your water volume), 3) p.s.i. (pounds per square inch) also known as your water pressure. Under ideal conditions, a 1-inch mainline with 30 p.s.i. and 10 to 12 gallons per minute as your house water source will meet the needs of most homeowners for a drip system. The next, and certainly not the least important, decision is cost. more>>

Local Hero: Water Conservation - To the Extreme
by Doug Pushard

How low can you go? In a third world country it is not uncommon for a person to live on about 5 gallons a day. In the United States the average is closer to 80 gallons a day. In Western Europe, the average is about 60 gallons a day.

A New Mexico family has taken water conservation to a whole new level. >> more

The Capture System
by Doug Pushard

You have decided to invest in a rainwater harvesting system, but where do you start? What questions do you need to answer before you can build the right system to harvest rainwater? Let’s start with learning how much rain you can collect. A good place to start is the capture system. >> more

Harvesting Rain Downunder
by Doug Pushard

Rainwater harvesting is not just a topic of interest in the arid southwest, or even just parts of the United States; it is a topic of worldwide interest. Sally Dominguez, CEO of Rainwaterhog from Sydney, Australia, was recently in the United States promoting her Rainwaterhog product line; and took a few minutes to talk about the differences in the Australian and US rainwater harvesting markets. >> more

First Flush Devices - A Review
by Doug Pushard

What is a First Flush? Is there one perfect type of First Flush device? Where do I put a First Flush on my rainwater catchment system?

First Flush or Rain Diverters, as the name implies, flush off the first water of a storm before it enters the storage tank. This is the water that could be the the most contaminated by particulates, bird droppings, and other materials laying on the roof. Eliminating these contaminants before they enter into your storage and conveyance system is critical to keeping rainwater clean. >>more

On the Verge of Water Scarcity
A call for good governance and human ingenuity

A 2007 paper published by the Stockholm International Water Institute overviews the current state of water around the world and recommends policies that governmental and private water companies should embrace to address our emerging water crisis. This report is excellent reading for anyone concerned about or involved in setting water policies. It is also good news for those involved in rainwater harvesting as rainwater catchment is seen as one of the solutions to water scarcity. >>more

Water: Why Care
by Doug Pushard

I must admit I get a lot of blank stares when I start talking about water conservation and rainwater harvesting. Not among the folks who already do it, but from those who don’t. The typical response is “Why should I care? Water is cheap, and all I have to do is turn on the tap and it flows.” While it’s true that water does flow easily, it is even truer that we have not yet had to pay the true cost for this precious resource. >>more

Rainwater Harvesting - Pumps or Pressure Tanks
by Doug Pushard

If you are building or planning to install a rainwater collection system, water pressure (i.e. water line pressure) is one of the main issues you need to think about. There one several ways to achieve water pressure when you turn on the faucet. If gravity does not work for you, you will need to install a pump and there are several options to consider, some new and some old. >>more

Rainwater Harvesting & Plumbing Codes

Ever wonder why solar panels and solar hot water systems are growing at a much faster rate than Rainwater Harvesting systems. Maybe it is due to standardized electrical codes that provide consistency and training to thousands of electricians across the country; no similar standards exists for rainwater catchment systems.

Read a reprint of Susan R. Ecker excellent article in Plumbing Engineer to get the full picture. >>more

Local Pioneer: Free Rain, Free Watering and Exercise All in One
by Doug Pushard

Always looking to do more with less? Like help the environment and getting exercise at the same time? Well Larry Gilg did, and he found a way: "I hooked a water pump to a bicycle trainer and use it to pump water out of my rainwater system." Watering his yard, totally for FREE and getting exercise at the same time. Read how>>

Rainwater Catchment Systems May be Better than the Big Pipe!
by Doug Pushard

In a recent research project by Brad Crowley, home-based cisterns were compared against the $1.4 billion “Big Pipe” program to upgrade the current Portland, OR combined storm water and sewer system. At stake is a way to reduce the estimated 2.8 billion gallons of raw sewage and stormwater that is dumped annually into the Willamette river.

Is Rainwater Really Safe?
by Doug Pushard

Water quality is an extremely hot topic these days. With continued population growth and strained water supplies it is likely to become even more so. It is estimated that already one in five homes have some type of water filtration or purification system installed. How safe is rainwater compared to alternatives. more>

Free Rain
by Doug Pushard

High Tech, Hands Off Rainwater Collection

Even though our yard is planted with mostly native vegetation adapted to our hot Austin, Texas, climate it requires watering to keep it healthy and lush. We use a drip irrigation system for watering, which is more efficient tha using sprinklers.

Read in the latest edition of Home Power (Home Power 115 October/November 2006) about the exact system I installed in Austin, Texas. The article includes great schematics and links to suppliers.

 

Going Green is Building
by Doug Pushard

There is a growing focus on controlling energy and monthly costs in homes and commercial buildings. Now, there is new emphasis on controlling water usage. In drier parts of the country, such as the Southwest and parts of the Pacific Northwest, freshwater sources are rapidly diminishing. This dilemma has influenced the building and design industries to create innovative methods of water conservation or so called ”water-cycle management” more>

Drinking Water, Is it Safe?
by Doug Pushard

How safe is your water? The EPA regulates tap water, but how well do they do their job? Read a comprehensive study on the U.S. water supply done by the independent Environmental Working Group. more>

Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands, Volume I

Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands, Volume 1, is a recently published book by Brad Lancaster. It is a practical guide to holistic rainwater management; featuring not just information on rainwater harvesting, but also covers site planning, water conservation strategies and much, much more. The 181 page manual is jammed packed with examples, stories, data and illustrations.

 

Before You Harvest - Conserve
by Doug Pushard

Water conservation can pay big dividends. Not only can it save you money every month, it reduces your impact on the planet and can make you feel better. All without a major change in your lifestyle.

Is it Time to Upgrade from Rain Barrels to Tanks?
by Doug Pushard

So, you're catching rainwater into barrels, helping the environment, and saving a bit of money on your monthly water bill as an added bonus. Great idea.

How Safe is Drinking Water from a Tank?
A PDF download written by Australia's John Payne, the founder of Enviro-Friendly Products. The article looks at how safe harvesting rainwater is. Download here >>

Local Pioneer: Jody Drew's Home-Made Water
by Doug Pushard
Have you ever dreamed about living off the grid and enjoying a totally self-sufficient lifestyle in a house you helped build? Jody Drew is living her dream, including rainwater harvesting. more >>

The Willow School: Teaching Sustainability
by Doug Pushard

The first thing that you notice at The Willow School is the closeness of nature to each classroom. Each room has its own door so children can move outside at a moment's notice, and the ample windows draw the outside into the room. Preserving the natural beauty of the area, the grounds design features include many outdoor learning spaces and constructed wetlands for water conservation and filtration of wastewater. more >>

Rain Chains: The Art of Collecting Rainwater by Doug Pushard
Though few would argue that downspouts effectively direct water from the gutter to the collecting tank, would we agree that they add to the aesthetic appeal of a landscape? Probably not. Fortunately, for people who wish to transcend function for form, there is another option. Rain chains ('Kusari doi' in Japanese) offer a highly attractive and unique alternative to traditional downspouts to harvest rainwater. more >>

Local Pioneer: Billy Kniffen - The 2 1/2 Minute Shower Man by Doug Pushard
When Billy Kniffen and his wife, Mary, bought their five acre lot in West Texas in 2003 with the idea of building their log cabin dream home, there was one basic necessity missing: water - no city water access and ground water of questionable quality. Billy gazed up at the sky and the obvious solution sprinkled down on him - harvest rainwater from the sky! more >>

Everything You Need to Know about Ultraviolet Water Purification by John Mone
Ultraviolet radiation is capable of destroying all types of bacteria, rapidly and without the use of heat or chemical additives which may undesirably alter the composition of water. It is a great solution for cleaning rainwater. more >>

Action Learning at Florida House: A Rainwater Harvesting Case Study by Doug Pushard
The Florida House Learning Center is a demonstration home and yard featuring an environmentally-friendly building along with rainwater harvesting and sustainable landscaping materials and methods. Designed to be a "Model Florida Yard," Florida House showcases the use of native and drought-tolerant plants, xeriscaping, rainwater harvesting, pervious walkways, and other ways to reduce detrimental run-off into Florida's estuaries and bays. more >>


Rainwater Harvesting: Comparing Storage Solutions
by Doug Pushard
Storage tanks, usually the most expensive component of the rainwater harvesting system, come in a wide variety of sizes and types. Here is an overview to help you decide on the type of tank to us, the main factors being the supply of rainwater and your budget. Alternatives covered include: fiberglass, polypropylene, below-ground polypropylene, cement, ferrocement, stone, and wood. more >>

The Secret to Successful Rainwater Harvesting: Floating Filters by Doug Pushard
As the name implies, a floating filter, or extractor, floats in the water in the tank and its sole purpose is to intake water from the calm, clean, rainwater that is in the middle of the tank. more >>

A Benchmark for Zero Water Use in Commercial Building: Melbourne's 60L by Doug Pushard
As the trend toward environmental awareness continues in both the private and public sector, more and more zero and low-impact buildings are being designed and built. Most of these projects are focused primarily on electrical energy usage, with water use as an afterthought. This is especially so for commercial buildings - with one noteable exception: the 60L office building in Melbourne, Australia, which was designed with water efficiency as an integral part of the design. more >>


Local Hero: Hawaii's Guru of Water Catchment - Trisha Macomber
by Doug Pushard
If you live in Hawaii, you're lucky. Trisha Macomber at the University of Hawaii is the guru of rain harvesting systems in Hawaii. more >>

Rainwater Harvesting: Explosive Growth Across The US by Trish Donahue and Doug Pushard
There are as many reasons for the growth of rainwater harvesting as there are communities promoting and implementing such programs around the U.S.- from Hawaii to Florida. more >>

Op-Ed: Worldwide Water Conservation Can't Wait
by Doug Pushard and Christian Sarkar

Americans hear a lot about the drought that we are experiencing in the southwest and other parts of the United States, but we rarely hear about dry conditions in other parts of the world and what others are doing about it. more >>


Teach Your Children: Santa Fe Children's Museum
by Doug Pushard

The Santa Fe Children's Museum features a water play set, a water garden, water fountains and an extensive water catchment system. The goal is to teach children about water conservation. more >>


Local Heroes: City of Olympia Water Conservation Program Covers All Bases
by Doug Pushard

Why would an area that gets over 50 inches of rain a year, has very mild weather and seemingly ready access to unlimited water need a water conservation program and promote rainwater harvesting? more >>

Rainwater Harvesting in Taos by Doug Pushard
In the Taos area both commercial and private home builders are proactively adopting rain catchment systems, reusing greywater and xeriscaping.
more >>

Swales & Berms vs Concrete: Low Tech Solutions for Stormwater Runoff by Doug Pushard
Swales and berms are still used around the world but have been all but forgotten here in the United States as a way to conserve water. Time to take a closer look at this natural alternative to concrete! more >>

Local Hero: Dick Peterson & Austin's Green Building Program
by Doug Pushard

Austin, the capital of Texas, home of the University of Texas and whose unofficial motto is “Keep Austin Weird”, is the center of the green movement in Texas. One man leads the charge- Dick Peterson, Environmental Program Coordinator at Austin Energy. more>>

Austin's Zilker Park Showcases Rainwater Harvesting by Doug Pushard
Zilker Park, in the heart of downtown Austin, is set to become the prime rainwater harvesting demonstration site for the City of Austin. more>>

The Drying of Nevada: Conservation Key to Future by Joseph Littbarski
Southern Nevada is in the midst of the "ugliest drought" the Colorado River Basin had experienced in 1400 years. more>>

Green Banking: New Mexico's Permaculture Credit Union
by Doug Pushard

The history of financial institutions is one of focus on the bottom line which results in overexploitation of the earth's resources. In New Mexico, however, we found a new kind of financial institution, one dedicated to green banking. more>>


Global Warning: Ecosystem Changes Worsen, Putting Development Goals At Risk
by Christian Sarkar

A landmark study released today reveals that approximately 60 percent of the ecosystem services that support life on Earth – such as fresh water, capture fisheries, air and water regulation, and the regulation of regional climate, natural hazards and pests – are being degraded or used unsustainably. more>>

Spring Harvest: Rain Barrel Programs Sprouting Across US & Canada
by Doug Pushard
This spring cities and communities all over the US and Canada are rolling out rain barrel programs. For some communities these are new programs while for others they are part of standard water conservation efforts. more>>

Marking World Water Day, UN to launch Water for Life Decade
by Michael Nettles

To spur efforts by governments and civil society to meet agreed targets on halving the number of people lacking access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015, the United Nations is launching the international Water for Life Decade on World Water Day- 22 March, 2005.
more>>

Water Activism: Organizations Making a Difference
by Christian Sarkar

It's World Water Day 2005 and what have you done? For those of you who emailed HarvestH20.com asking us about them, here's a list you can use.
see also: worldwaterday2005.org and this article: Water scarcity, contamination could become wave of the future.

Oregon School Showcases Demo Rainwater System
by Doug Pushard
The DaVinci Living Water Garden project is a collaboration between DaVinci Arts Middle School and Urban Water Works, a non-profit organization. The goal of the project is to educate students and citizens about storm water runoff and water quality, while also using the arts to celebrate the aesthetic properties of water.

Montana, Idaho Drought to Continue… Could Harvesting Rain Help? by Doug Pushard
Low snowpack levels currently being recorded through the end of January 2005 across shortages North Central Idaho and western Montana could forecast water later again this summer. Here are some resources...

Rainbarrel 101: What is a Rainbarrel?
by Jim Graves
A rain barrel is a system that collects and stores rainwater from your roof that would otherwise be lost to runoff and diverted to storm drains and streams. Includes a downloadable schematic: "How to Build a Rainbarrel"

Designing a High-Tech, Hands-Off Rainwater System
by Doug Pushard
Even though our yard is planted with native vegetation adapted to our hot Austin, Texas, climate, it requires some watering to keep it healthy and lush. We use a drip irrigation system for watering, which is more efficient than using sprinklers, but this small city yard still consumes lots of water during our long, sweltering summers... Here's a step-by-step account of how I built my rainwater harvesting system to beat those hot Texas summers and kept my garden green more>>

Local Heroes: Albuquerque's Aggresive Water Programs Make A Difference
by Steve Miller
Albuquerque, a city in the arid Southwestern United States, has grown by 120,000 residents in the last 20 years but consumed less water last year than in any previous year since 1985. Did rainwater harvesting help? Here's how they did it. more>>

Extreme Swings in Climate Cycles Could Jeopardize the Socioeconomic Stability in the Northern Great Plains Region by Joseph Littbarski
Recently completed studies reconstructing the historical climatic trends for the last 2000 years in the northern Great Plains show that frequent alternating climatic cycles of drought and wet periods are typical for this area. The results of this study suggest that this region is likely to experience a significant drought within the next few decades. more>>

 

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WHAT'S NEW

December 15, 2008

AWE Advises Obama's Transition Team on Investment in Water Efficiency >> more

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December 8, 2008

The High Cost of High Pressure >> more

Pennsylvania American Water today
requested that customers voluntarily reduce water consumption by 5 percent
>> more

San Diego Homeowners to get a Water Budget >> more

Warming to cut Colorado water supply>> more

Green Roof Study Finds Vast Performance Differences for Cooling and Water Handling Abilities>> more

More rate increases on the way>> more

Cactus Goo Makes Water Safe >> more

Rainwater harvesting saves water, breaks the law >> more

Starbuck's with Water to Burn>> more

RainTube and Rainwater H2OG form alliance to market innovative Rainwater Rescue solutions>> more

Australia desal and water tank wars >> more

New Virtual Water Study attempts to measure water foot print >> more

Penn State Public Broadcasting Documentary on Nation’s Deteriorating Water Infrastructure >> more

City enacts strongest water restriction ever >> more

Spain may be a glimpse into our conservaton future >> more

Alta, Utah sees 25% rate rate >> more

Energy is Water >> more

PRIVACY: We will not sell, rent or share your name with anyone. see policy

FAQS

1. How do you harvest rainwater?
2. Where do you get the water?
3. What is the best way of harvesting rain?
4. Why should I harvest rainwater?
5. Do I need pumps to harvest rainwater?
6. Can I use drip irrigation or soaker hoses with a rainwater?
7. How big a yard can I water?
8. How big are rain barrels?
9. I want more pressure, how should I raise it?
10. Can I water my grass with rainwater?

and many more>>


 


 

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