Catching on to Water Catchment

Before I begin: I've been in the process of earning my certificate in Permaculture under the amazing Claudia Joseph, whose intensive knowledge of everything from mulch to maintenance has provided information for posts on this blog as well as on my personal blog on all things green(ish). And this particular knowledge on water catchment came via one of her fascinating guest teachers, Lars Chellberg, who works for the Council on the Environment of NYC and the Water Resources Group. Okay, onward!

As most people have heard by now, the more water we save for reuse, and the less that simply runs straight down our drains, the better. Do you have a roof and storm gutters? Well then you've already started to channel useful rainwater...although having it spill unused onto a random spot on your lawn is not the best finale. Installing a water catchment system may be more complex than placing an open whiskey barrel under the spout...but the construction doesn't have to be hard:

Once the rain comes partway down the downspout, a seasonal plunger (literally a plunger) forces the water into the catchment system's pipes:

There is the issue of leaves and other large debris washing off the roof, which is where the first flush part of the system comes in. The roofwasher:

This part essentially forces the particles to accumulate at the bottom of a separate section, so only water eventually makes it into the collection tank. It is important to empty the roof washer area after each major rain to let out all the junk.

And once your collection tank starts to fill up you can hook a hose straight up to it, or transport some of the water to a separate irrigation system, like this bucket kit idea for a veggie garden:

And even after being used to water your veggies (or wash your dog), the excess water can then run naturally downhill to a rain garden:

And if you're worried that a water catchment system on your property will be unsightly, feel free to disguise it with shrubs...or some creative flair:

So there's the majorly abridged version. But lucky lucky, the entire 54-page, in-depth, how-to booklet is available as a free download. So get to it!