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Rain Water Harvesting

The harvesting of rainwater certainly isn’t a new idea. Different techniques date back as far as the ancient Romans, and for years ranchers have dug stock tanks designed to catch rainwater and runoff to hold water for livestock to drink. With water becoming a natural resource that’s ever increasing in value, different applications and techniques are being developed to be able to store some of the water that comes with a rain. Bob French has more in this week’s From The Ground Up.

"I have a 55 gallon rain barrel that I put underneath one downspout and I use it to water my dog, and the plants inside our house. Billy Kniffen, who is a water resource specialist for the Texas Agrilife extension service lives out in Menard, Texas and he actually collects enough water to supply his home for indoor use and outdoor use as well, and I believe his collection is somewhere in the neighborhood of 17 to 18,000 gallons."

Justin Mechell is with the Texas Agrilife Extension Service.

"In the Brazos Valley here we do have a water content with a lot of saline and salt, and so using rain water, it is free of those minerals and salts, and so you can use those to grow plants and materials you wouldn’t be able to grow normally."

Mechell says there are other benefits than just being water conscious.

"It reduces storm water flows, and reduces the maximum rainfall runoff rates that you do have on certain areas, and so it lessens a lot of the problems you have with runoff."

Right now, if you have access to a municipal water supply, a large rainfall collection system for your home isn’t cost effective.

"But if you live in an area where it’s too expensive to drill a well, or there’s not ground water available there, it is cost effective to put in a rain water harvesting system."

And we were stunned to learn rainwater harvesting is illegal in some states.

"In other states such as Colorado and Washington, and others across the country, the rainwater is actually the property of the state, and so you can’t necessarily capture that water and collect it as your own. Fortunately here in Texas the rainwater is the property owner’s, available to catch."

So even if you’re connected to a municipal water supply, you might consider collecting some rainwater to water your plants and pets. You might even be able to grow something new that won’t tolerate the water supplied by our local water systems. I’m Bob French, looking at Brazos Valley agriculture, From The Ground Up.


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