Rainwater Harvesting

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In a region that isn’t known for its high levels of moisture, water is a precious commodity. As a way to conserve this resource, many people have begun harvesting rainwater. Rainwater harvesting is defined as the process of accumulating and collecting rainwater for reuse before it reaches the aquifer. Uses for this water include water for gardens, livestock, and irrigation, among many other uses.

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The benefits of rainwater harvesting include a reduced demand on the existing water supply, as well as the reduction of run-off, erosion, and contamination of surface water. According to the Rainwater Harvesting website of Texas A&M’s AgriLife Extension Service, the basic components of any rainwater harvesting system include a catchment surface, conveyance system, storage, distribution, and treatment.

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Because TAMU’s AgriLife Extension Service offers such a thorough explanation of rainwater harvesting, we want to offer a summary of rainwater harvesting and point you to a resource that already exists for a more thorough explanation. We will walk you through the different components of the rainwater harvesting system as an introduction.

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  • Catchment—The catchment area is the area that first has contact with the rainwater. It is the first component of a rainwater harvesting system. In the majority of systems, this is a roof. There are many different types of roofs that can be used, with each one providing a different effect upon the system.
  • Conveyance—The gutters and the system of pipes that move the rainwater from the catchment (roof) toward the area for storage. One important thing to keep in consideration with the conveyance is that it is properly installed and well maintained in order to avoid leakage.
  • Storage—The storage component of the system is the cistern or tank that holds the rainwater. Again, it must be properly maintained in order to avoid any sort of leaks, and it must be installed with safety in mind, in order to keep any children or small animals from falling into the storage area.
  • Treatment—Depending upon what you will use collected rainwater for, it needs to be treated or filtered. If you’re not using the water for drinking, the main “treatment” you will be concerned with is straining out as much debris as possible.
  • Distribution—this component of a rainwater harvesting system involves all of the pipes, tubing, pumps, and other devices used to help get it where you want it to be.

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Texas A&M’s site offers videos, photos, and tutorials on creating your own rainwater harvesting system. To learn even more about this great way to protect such a precious commodity, be sure to attend seminars by Brad Lancaster in Lubbock on March 4 and Amarillo on March 6 and 7. We share details of both events on our Facebook page!

We would like to thank Texas A&M’s Agrilife Extension for their incredible resource in their website. It truly is a resource worth holding onto in your rainwater harvesting endeavors!

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