Monday, April 28, 2008

900 and Counting



Amid threats of tornadoes, lightening strikes, and hail, we got about an inch of rain over the past few days. From that ... drum roll please ... we managed to collect about 900 gallons of cloud juice. * The gutters and pipes to the rainwater tank didn't sag or leak (not that we expected them to), the water went where we wanted it, and as an added bonus, we didn't get hit by the hail.




Also, as I was saying to MSS at Zanthan Gardens, now we understand what a friend meant when he said, "Oh, you got the small one!" when he saw our 1660 gallon tank. This is addictive! The clouds give us a little free and we're hooked. Given that Austin averages 32 to 36 inches of rain per year, however, our little lot doesn't have enough room for tanks to catch all of it. Herein lies the dilemma of the suburban rainwater harvester. In most areas, rainfall occurs seasonally. Many of us don't have room for enough storage to catch the entire rainy season harvest and be able to last through times of drought. When we decided to install our tank, I had no idea that not only would I learn how to install the system, I'd also get a lesson in being content with the difference this amount of capture will make. My current plan is to make a pitcher of Texas Martinis, go sit by the pond, listen to the waterfall splashing, and practice being content.



*To figure how much you'd collect, you need to know that one inch of rain on a 1000 sq. foot catchment area yields roughly 600 gallons. We aren't using our full (oddly shaped, irregular) roof surface and had to guess at our total catchment area. One of the best free sources of information on rainwater harvesting in Texas, including average annual rainfall, is The Texas Manual on Rainwater Harvesting (do an online search and the entire manual can be downloaded at no cost.)

14 comments:

Pam/Digging said...

More great info! Vicki, I'd love to come look at your tank one day and bring my husband along. Your "little one" is inspiring envy here at the Penick household.

ourfriendben said...

This is fantastic! And you're right, collecting water *is* addictive, especially if, like us, there's no water source out back where your veggie and fruit gardens are. (We use the greenhouse roof.) But what's a Texas martini?! Don't hold out on us here!

vertie said...

I thought of you with all this rain! Makes me want to install a rain barrel even more.z

mss @ Zanthan Gardens said...

Your pond looks lovely and I'd love to see it. I'm quite new to pond-making and I hope to learn more about it.

Aside: I replied to your email about setting up a time to visit but since I haven't heard from you, I'm wondering if it went astray, again. Maybe if you add me to your address book it won't filter me out.

Bonnie said...

So cool! You're right about the realization on rainwater harvesting. I just have the two barrels and you realize that it is so paltry and that you really only have rainwater in the rainy season because it certainly won't last long once things have dried out and rain isn't coming anymore.

Robin (Bumblebee) said...

V - This is an impressive setup. I'm also impressed at your DIY spirit. You didn't wade in, you jumped in head first!

Really, it's inspiring. I'll keep you posted of my baby steps.

Robin at Bumblebee

Diana said...

V - Wow. That is so impressive. I'm with Pam and MSS, I'd love to see it. Maybe you need to put on a demonstration one day and show off your new baby. On the less functional side, the pond is lovely and I can just imagine listening to the waterfall with a Texas martini in hand....mmmmm.

Anonymous said...

It feels like one is visiting your back yard when viewing the website.

Lori said...

Speaking of hail and thunderstorms, I hope you guys all came through tonight's exciting weather unscathed.

vbdb said...

To anyone who might suggest that the people we meet through our blogs aren't "real relationships", I'd just say that someone who thinks about you in a severe thunderstorm is as "real" a friend as you can have. It's just an added bonus that some of these wonderful folks are close enough to drop by for a visit. Thank you, Lori, for being concerned. After a tense hour crowded into a windowless, interior room with 2 large dogs, 3 people, and a mattress while a tornado bore down on us, all was calm again. Didn't even lose any trees, and the rain tank is full.

Diana said...

So glad to hear you're ok. I was thinking about you, too , last night while I was watching the weather on the tv all evening. Any hail or plant damage?

Lori said...

I'm glad you guys are all right! I was watching the tornado on the Doppler and getting really, really worried.

vbdb said...

You guys are the best support group! No hail, no obvious plant damage, just a few flashbacks to the night I was at Hilltop Herb Farm when a tornado blew it off the face of the earth. Thank you for worrying.

Annie in Austin said...

Glad to know you're okay, VBDB - we had sirens going off and were in the windowless room for awhile, too - but the storm went over us. It looks like great damage came later in Central Austin.

Doesn't the Hilltop Herb Farm tornado story sound worthy of a future blog post?

Annie