Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Rain Water Harvesting - The Good, the Bad and the Bunyips.

More Monsoons are supposed to be coming, hopefully. When they do, how much water will remain on your property? Will it cause problems on your property like flooding, erosion or foundation settling? If it happens to be a big rain, how long till you turn your irrigation system back on? Two, maybe three days?
I recently attended a very interesting seminar here in Phoenix. The topic was Rainwater Harvesting. If you live in Phoenix you may not know much about rainwater harvesting. We seem to have the attitude that water is cheap and plentiful, and it is thanks to the CAP. But this isn’t the case most everywhere else in Arizona. Tucson, for instance will be mainstreaming rainwater harvesting into their city development plans very soon. Starting this January all commercial projects in Tucson will have to provide 50% of the landscape irrigation through rainwater harvesting.

This is big news and no small step for any municipal water district. But what do you know about rainwater harvesting? Would you like to know more?

Well, the seminar was basically an introduction to an on line information module just now available for free through the University of Arizona, The Technology and Research Initiative Fund (TRIF), and The Water Sustainability Program. The actual module site was created by the Arid Lands Information Center team: Carla Casler, Theresa Crimmins, Damian Hammond, Chris Hansen, and Katherine Waser.
The goal of the site is to provide Arizonans who are new to rainwater harvesting with the tools and information they need to begin planning their own rainwater harvesting system. They discuss some of the most useful backyard water harvesting strategies, including some that you can implement yourself without a lot of expensive equipment or tools.
They even offer a How-To video on Bunyips.

A bunyip is a mythical creature from Australian folklore, but also a very old and useful tool for grading. Personally I’ll stick with my laser level, but bunyip is such a cool word, I had to work it in.
You must register, but use of the module is free. Check it out: Simple Techniques for Back Yard Water Harvesting.
Have you ever noticed how happy your plants look after a good rain? It isn’t your imagination. Your plants prefer rainwater. I encourage you to get your feet wet (pardon the pun) and try a small project. If you have children, they will love it and it might get them away from the game console for a little while.