Rain, Rain go away. Please come back another day. That used to be an appropriate wish as a child. Now, I dance for rain. Living in the hills above Cazadero, which can precipitate 10 feet of rain some years, one may ask, “Why dance, you’ll drown in all that rain!”
But Cazadero is in California, a drought prone part of the country of the U S of A. Because of this fact, water all over the state is coveted, fought over and cherished. Great measures are taken to harvest water; hmmm dams come to mind. But why not harvest water in its natural form; rain, glorious rain. Rain catchment systems are not a new science. In fact, it is a common practice in much of the world, especially in lesser developed countries.
When my wife and I began designing our homestead, rain catch was one of our first considerations, to supplement and hopefully in time, replace the use of our well. We first set up two 750 gallon tanks under the gutters and watered gardens directly from them. In later years, we added two 5,000 gallon tanks which we pump up to. This supplies most of our garden and orchard needs.
Courtesy of Texas A & M http://rainwaterharvesting.tamu.edu/catchment-area/
Did you know that 1 inch of rain on a 1000 square foot roof can capture 623 gallons of water? Multiply that by 40 (average rainfall in Santa Rosa) and you can capture 25,000 gallons of rainwater. That’s enough water to supply a single person for almost a full year. Of course, storing the water for the average household is the biggest challenge. If above ground tanks do not suit your space, you can always store it in underground cisterns. Any effort to capture this liquid gold can save you money and can go a long way to helping keep your local watershed healthy.