|Installing a rainwater harvesting system can be as simple as catching gutter runoff in a barrel hooked to a hose for your garden, or as high-tech as the above image of a complete residential harvesting system.|
Whether these are the most commonly asked questions about rainwater harvesting I can't say, but anyone who's been in doubt about when and how to get started might find the following information helpful:
- Isn't it illegal to harvest rainwater in parts of the United States?
Unfortunately, yes. As insane as it seems, laws restricting property owners from diverting water falling on their own homes have been on the books for a long time. And with record droughts seen across the United States and globe, all falling water now has a premium on it. Utah, Colorado, and Washington each have their own sets of collection restrictions, which vary among regions and legislators.
To see what the deal is in your state, you'll have to check up-to-date guidelines. But in general, if you're installing a small system on your home, you're in the clear. If you're going to be outfitting a larger system for, say, a business (i.e. carwash) or a more expensive residential setup (for your showers, sinks, and toilets as well as your lawn a la the above illustration), then you definitely want to check with your local zoning enforcement officer to make sure you're in compliance.
- Where can I get rainwater harvesting supplies?
A basic rainwater harvesting system can be created using totally upcycled materials, like an old gutter and downspout that was discarded, and any sized drum (at Better Farm we used old iodine tanks from a dairy farm that we thoroughly cleaned out). If you want or need to buy new, the National Tank Outlet has a great selection of tanks. You can get any gutter system from your local hardware store. If you're not much for DIY work but would really like to get involved, Loomis Tank sells full systems—just make sure you check with your local zoning officer before you invest a bunch of money in something that might not be allowed in your town.
- How do you filter the water you collect?
- What do you do in the winter?
Please send any more questions or comments to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.