After living in northern New Mexico for 10 years it’s hard to forget the preciousness of water. Before living there I knew to turn the water off when brushing, don’t water your lawn at noon, and save water however possible. But, I didn’t really get real water conservation and especially had no concept of water independence. We always had city water or a well that had been no issue to dig.
However, that’s not true for many properties in New Mexico and around the world. Everyone needs water though right? One solution – rainwater collection.
Rainwater Collection is just what it sounds like. Collecting rain water and storing it for use later. It’s been done for centuries and is currently very popular in some arid places like the southwestern US, Brazil, China and elsewhere, as well as for people who are designing and building off grid homes like earthships and other types of green buildings.
Rain water harvesting systems are usually gutter systems that instead of emptying the water they catch from the roof into a location in your yard or into the street, they empty it into a holding tank. At their most basic a rain water collection system could also be a 50 gallon drum or two set near the garden or the water tank for the livestock too.
Take a look at these examples of rain water collection systems for a better idea of what I’m talking about.
Ready to incorporate rainwater collection into your green building?
It’s so easy.
Depending on your climate you may need to dig for your cistern if you plan to use it year round so it’s underground and safe from freezing temps. Otherwise, it’s just gutters, some type of container to hold the water you collect, along with a way to release the water when you’re ready for it and you’ve got your very own rainwater collection system!
If you just want a small project, try setting up a system off your garage or barn for your garden. If you like it go bigger! It’s amazing how much water you can collect and what it can really save you, and the planet.