In January’s Sunset Magazine there was a short article about installing rain chains, rain barrels and cisterns in order to collect rain water, and I was really interested in it because I was planning on doing at least 2 of them this Spring. Little did I know I had the biggest project of the three finished – there is an underground 1,500 gallon cistern already in place and collecting water!
The way my house is designed, it is like a wedge – the entire front is 1.5 stories high with huge south facing celestory windows to allow for solar passive heating, while the back of the house is 1 story tall with fewer windows. Here is a picture of the front:
And here is a picture of the back:
The big roof slants from the front to the back, where there are gutters to collect any and all rain or snow melt. The gutter splits in the middle, with one half going down to the left corner and the other half going to the right corner. On the left corner, the water is fed into a downspout that goes straight into the ground and into the 1,500 gallon cistern, which has a top that I can access from ground level:
There is a pump I will insert in the top to pull the water up and into a hose, which can then be used to water our garden, flowers, or even wash my car. On the other corner, where the water is currently just draining into the ground like most spouts do, I plan on adding a rain barrel that will drip irrigate the plants in our walkway by gravity alone with no pump necessary. I am even thinking of putting a rain chain on this corner of the house instead of the downspout to give the birds somewhere to drink from as the water goes down to the barrel. New Mexico is not known for it’s massive amounts of rain, so collecting as much of it as possible from the sky to use for watering our plants is essential to being able to grow things in this environment. There are a few states and counties that have water catchment laws where you cannot catch the rain as it belongs to everyone and is needed for the acequia’s, (community operated waterways) but where I live we can do so, so I will!
What about you guys? Have you implemented any water catchment projects on your home to both conserve water and save money at the same time? If so, let us know what you did in the comments!