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.)