Water Catchment on the Suburban Frontier


Suburban Permaculture House And Garden

Transformation work started on this quarter-acre suburban property in 2,000. The site is flat, good soil with good solar access. It's in a suburban neighborhood; the house was built in 1956. The intention from the start was to do a permaculture makeover to take care of more needs closer to home.

For this blog post, I would like to describe my rain water catchment system, an intention from the start and first time ever for me.

Sizing a Rainwater Catchment System

Catch and store rain in the Pacific Northwest? That's right. Its dry here in the summer. We can go two months with, essentially, no rain. The reasons for the system are partly for irrigation, drinking if I need to and “green preparedness..” The plastic for all these tanks is polyethylene and is food grade, made without chlorine.

Useful info: An inch of rain on 1,000 square feet comes out to about 550 gallons. Many suburban homes will have a roof of 2,000 square feet if not more. For a roof of 2,100 square feet, multiply 550 times 2, times 30 inches of rain, for example, and that comes out to 33,000 gallons. You can look at your water bill to gain a sense of reference.

I visited a retail tank store 40 miles away, that sold ag and water tanks. I went to the place in person, looked around and found two used tanks I was not told about on the phone. They are both oblong tanks that would have been mounted on the back of a flat bed truck. They are 1,600 gallons each and I paid very little for them, even delivered. I had to fix a leak on one of them.

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