Rain On Wire Green creative commons by-nc-nd 2007 bruce john stracke.

come again another day

We really enjoy adding rainwater harvesting to hill country homes. While it may seem counter intuitive to use rainwater harvesting during our drought our most recently completed collection system has already captured nearly 40,000 gallons during three months of below average rainfall. As desert dwellers through millennia have practiced, rainwater collection works using simple systems that require no power providing clean water on demand. Like renewable energy rainwater is free to harvest and simple to use. Unlike renewable energy it costs no more than a conventional system and properly sized reliably provides clean, soft water on demand.

Rainwater harvesting isn’t just about collecting rainwater in a tank or cistern for later use. Use of pervious pavers, grass lined berms and other hardscape or landscape features to encourage ground water aquifer recharge and native plant growth are just as important to good water stewardship and site management. These elements not only add little in cost to a project they enhance the outdoor spaces enlarging our built environment in a natural way. Bringing the outside in or as we prefer bringing the inside out offers opportunities for dining under the sky, enjoying a quiet evening around a fire. Designing outdoor rooms that create spaces that manage storm water runoff not only help conserve water use and reduce power consumption, they increase the living space for a fraction of the cost of conditioned space. A well designed outdoor space will often be more comfortable than inside conditioned space without all the technological intervention.

While thinking about going ‘off the water grid’ or supplementing your existing water system can seem daunting collecting and storing your own rainwater offers peace of mind and satisfaction. Folks we have helped with rainwater harvesting love the way the water tastes and feels. They note that their laundry and dishes need less soap and their plants seem to do better with less chlorine and minerals. Check out our rainwater harvesting section to see a couple of our projects-