This week Steven got our catchment system hooked up. The 325 gallon tank is already over half full, after just 1/3 of an inch of rainfall. We are pretty excited!
The roof over our garage is flat, which is not great for much, but it does lend itself well to the easy collection of water. The water runs down the slight slope of the roof into the gutter, where it then flows into the downspout and through the Clean Rain Ultra. Steven did a lot of research before deciding on this device, and was ultimately swayed by it’s smart and simple design, which includes 4 features all in one relatively small package. After a “first flush,” which prevents accumulated contaminants from entering your tank, the water is then diverted into the storage tank. This divereter valve can also be adjusted manually. A fine stainless steel screen is included in the system to keep things like grit, fir needles and even mosquitoes out, so your tank doesn’t become a mosquito breeder; and a rain head keeps leaves and other larger debris out. When the tank is full, it is made to divert to a little pond down the hill. We still need to work out the details of how to get the water to the point of use, but that shouldn’t be too hard at this point.
It’s exciting to think how much water we will be able to save, and it makes us feel a little more ready in case of emergency. Essentially, we live in a rainforest. We receive an average of 80 inches of rain per year here – which, if the math whizzes did the math right, means about 4 gallons per hour, every hour, just from our garage roof! Steven is starting to research small scale hydro power, with the idea of creating some electricity with all the rainfall we get. It seems totally possible.
For now though, I am just hoping to be able to water the garden almost entirely with collected rainwater this summer. I think the plants will be happier with that too.
++ UPDATE (with an even more recent photo coming soon). This post gets so many hits, I thought it would be worth showing a slightly more updated version. The cedar surround is there partly to conceal the tank, but also to protect it from sun. Sunlight allows for unwanted bacterial and algal growth, and your water will turn green. The visible side here (south) was shortened to allow a roof to be put on. A wall was put up on the west side as well. A few adjustments were made to the piping to accommodate.
It’s so great that so many people are interested in harvesting rainwater!
5/19/14 UPDATE: A new post has been added on May 19, 2014 which includes more details on the system. It can be found here.