Rainwater harvesting is a super easy sustainable solution, no matter where we live. Pure, clean water falls freely from the heavens.
Formulate your rainwater harvesting strategy by examining your home’s landscape. Look where the water flows to and from when it rains. Assess the highest points the lowest points where water flows and drains. Probable high points include the roof of the house, but don’t overlook other high points such as sidewalks, decks, outbuildings, or your neighbor’s driveway. Observe where water goes in a rainstorm and ask yourself if there is a way to direct this runoff to where it will percolate into the soil and water your plants.
Here are the top five (5) rainwater harvesting techniques:
One: Eliminate Impermeable Surfaces - Minimize the impermeable surfaces that prevent rain and earth from meeting. Eliminate, as much as possible, every impermeable surface that prevents rainwater from getting into your soil where it can feed your plants and crops.
Consider alternative road and walkway surfaces such as wood chips, porous brick, decomposed granite, or any material that lets water seep through. These surfaces are more pleasant to walk on and look at than concrete. Less hardscaping in your yard means more water will percolate into the soil, and down into the water table.
Take special care to maintain any existing drainage systems that divert water away from your home’s foundation. Any depaving at all is a step in the right direction. Transform your urban environment into a green, eco-friendly landscape.
Two: Smart Gutters And Downspouts - Gutters on the urban homestead channel water away from your foundation, and toward your garden.
Building codes requires that downspouts take water a minimum of ten feet away from a structure to ensure that water doesn’t damage your foundation. It’s real simple and super sustainable. Hook a drainage pipe to the end of a downspout. The diverting pipes can be run above ground or below the surface to a mulch basin with plantings.
Make sure you keeping your gutters clean otherwise they will get clogged up and negate the purpose of diverting the water in the first place.
The Alfi Fire Hot Dutch Tub Portable Outdoor Wood Fired Hot Tub heats water by way of connected outer pipes that coil around a fire basket. Enjoy the simplicity of relaxing in the tub while you watch as the natural wood flames produce steaming hot water.
Three: Earthworks - Earthworks are a simple, elegant way to ensure that rainwater gets to your plants rather than flowing out into the street. Dig trenches and build earth walls to catch and direct the rainwater.
Channel the water from roofs, sidewalks, driveways, steep hillsides, and other impermeable or semi-permeable surfaces to where that rainwater will nourish the roots of your plants. The drip lines of buildings, or low points near streets and sidewalks will often support a lush weedy landscape. Use these areas as your starting point.
Four: Terracing - If you have a hill on your property, slow the down-flow of water by cutting stair-stepped terraces into the slope. Support each “step” with a retaining wall made of stone, broken concrete or wood beams.
Slopes with terraces and retaining walls act as a water storage system. Rain penetrating the soil at the top of the slope forms a lens of water which over time migrates down through the hill. Plants with deep roots can reach into this lens and support themselves though extended dry periods.
Five: Rain Barrels - Hook a garden hose to your rain barrel so you can use your rainwater on whatever you wish, whenever you wish. Purchase a rainwater barrel, or make your own.
Any plastic drum makes an excellent rain barrel. The trick is figuring out a way to hook a hose up to the barrel. Use common PVC fittings available in any hardware store to hook a garden hose securely to the barrel. Once you've got the fittings installed, all you do is turn the barrel upside down on top of a couple of cinder blocks or similar for clearance, hook up a garden hose, and you're ready to rock.
Start harvesting rainwater to breathe life into your landscape. Create a thriving landscape to make positive change by harvesting and enhancing free on-site resources such as water, sun, wind, shade, community, and more.
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