Water Conservation by Dave White
Texas has seen a boom in population growth with many people discovering the state is a great place to live, work and play. This increase places more demand on the limited supply of both groundwater and surface water available. The last few years we have experienced some severe drought conditions. Take a drive by any of the many area lakes and you will be shocked by the low water levels. These are the lakes built to catch, store and provide the water we use and expect when we turn on the faucets in our homes.
We also enjoy having a manicured lawn and flowers blooming in our beds along with landscaped roadsides, mediums, and parks. All this could be in jeopardy if the water is not available to keep it alive. Typically 30 to 50 percent of the community water supply is used for landscape irrigation.
We all must learn to use this limited natural resource wisely and conserve so it is available for our basic needs. Rainwater harvesting is one method of water conservation. Rainwater harvesting captures, diverts and stores rainwater for later use. The easiest way to use this water source is in your landscape. Your plants will love rainwater since it is low in pH, free of salts and other minerals that harm root growth and contains no chlorine.
Simple rainwater harvesting systems consist of a catchment, a conveyance system, a storage container and a distribution system. A catchment is any area where water is collected from, such as a roof, paved or concrete surfaces or the soil surface. A conveyance system channels the water from the catchment area to the holding or storage area. The conveyance system may include gutters, downspouts, sloped sidewalks, driveways, channels, ditches and swales. Gravity usually carries the water to the storage area.
A simple landscape holding area is a concave area with a border or berm to retain runoff water. Spillways and channels can distribute the water throughout your site. These holding areas will enable the water to slowly soak into the ground and benefit your landscape plantings. This method of water harvesting also prevents flooding and erosion.
Rainwater can also be captured in a simple rain barrel or larger storage container. The water is stored until it is needed to irrigate your plants. Once captured, the water can be hand carried to your plants or connected to a distribution system such as a drip irrigation system using gravity flow. A pump can be used to distribute the water in more elaborate systems.
There are many different rain harvesting designs available, from the simple to complex. You can build a simple rain barrel yourself from a food grade barrel or purchase them from one of the many different sources in the size to fit your individual needs.
Go to http://rainwaterharvesting.