According to the U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1279, 76,500 million gallons per day of water were withdrawn from principal aquifers in the U.S. for the year 2000. Irrigation comprised about 74% of that amount, with public supply comprising about 21%. The cost of water is going up every year and the guidelines for water treatment are becoming more stringent. In the western United States, water shortage is a growing problem leading to water restrictions and regulations. Texas is currently facing one of the most severe droughts in recent history. On top of this, the population of the US is growing. This will only lead to more depletion of groundwater resources. We are pleased to announce that rainwater harvesting is being added to the list of services provided by Perfect Water. In this article, the benefits and feasibility of a system in your home/project will be discussed.

As more open ground is converted to developed ground, the impervious surface area is increased. This leads to more water running over the surface and never recharging the groundwater. A 1500 sq ft house sitting on a 1 acre lot doubles the amount of runoff from the lot. Based on historical rainfall data, that same 1500 sq ft. house in the Knoxville area, is capable of producing 3000 gal of water per month. Harvesting this water not only reduces the runoff from the lot, but it also can be used to reduce the amount of water purchased from the utility district. The cost of water in the Knoxville area ranges from $10-$20 per thousand gallons and is guaranteed to go up in the future.

If you are building a LEED house, then let us talk to you! A rainwater harvesting system installed correctly will earn points both in Sustainable Sites and Water Efficiency. These points not only grant a higher rating, but they also will save money in the long term, and create a more efficient home. Each home/project is different, but the rainwater harvesting options are so diverse and flexible that we are confident we can fit within your budget while supplying the desired features.

Above ground tanks are the most efficient and cost-effective way of collecting rainwater, but they are unsightly and take up valuable lawn and landscaping space. Perfect Water is equipped to design and install underground systems. Some of our options are even load-bearing and can be installed underneath your driveway or basement! On these systems, even the filters are underground to provide the least amount of obstruction. However, if above ground tanks are desired, they can be painted any color and there are many ways to blend them in with the landscaping.

Rainwater harvesting is an easy and effective way to reduce cost and benefit the environment. Payback periods for a system range from 10-15 years. As an added benefit, the water collected off of roofs is already softened. After running it through a few filters and a UV light, the clean, soft, rainwater is usable for drinking! Or the water can be used immediately for non-potable uses. And the water that would normally increase runoff, disturbing soil and creating problems downstream, is instead harvested and used. In short, rainwater harvesting makes sense!

Leed points associated with rainwater harvesting.

 

Denis A. Rochat, 12.28.2011