Rainwater harvesting: a time-honored tradition

Rainbarrels like this one can save money and reduce municipal water use. Rainbarrels like this one can save money and reduce municipal water use. Conserving water and saving on water bills is a challenge we all face. One way to do this is through harvesting rainwater. It's an old concept with new value in a time of water shortages and droughts.

Efficient water use is increasingly important to Texas. With the state's growing population and limited supply of groundwater and surface water, Texans must use water wisely. Rainwater harvesting is an innovative approach anyone can use.

The Rockdale Forum w ill present "Rainwater—How to Catch It and Use It" at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 27 at the Patterson Center. The program will be presented by specialists who will provide information about rainwater harvesting, and easy steps on how to begin harvesting rain for yourself.

Rainwater harvesting captures, diverts and stores rainwater for later use. Rainwater can even be used for drinking with proper treatment.

The easiest way to use stored rainwater is for landscaping. In many communities, 30 to 50 percent of the total water is used for landscaping irrigation. If that demand for a limited natural resource can be reduced, everyone benefits.

Harvesting rainwater offers many benefits:

• Saves you money by reducing your water bill.

• Reduces demand on the municipal water supply or your home well water.

• Makes efficient use of a valuable resource.

• Reduces f looding, erosion, and the contamination of surface water with sediments, fertilizers and pesticides in rainfall runoff.

• Rainwater is good for plants because it is free of salts and other minerals that harm root growth. As rainwater percolates into the soil, it forces salts down and away from root zones.

Rainwater harvesting can be used in large-scale landscapes, such as parks, schools, commercial sites, parking lots and apartment buildings. It can also be used in small residential landscapes.

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2009-08-13 digital edition

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