Knowing my passion for water, one of my fellow workers sent me a great handbook on rainwater harvesting he came across while researching the topic for a client. I suggested he share some of his research in the form of a guest blog for ValleyCrestTakesOn. He did such a phenonmenal job I think he should be a regular contributor. If you like this post and want to read more from Mark, please leave a comment below.
Rainwater Harvesting Inspiration
My Mom always said “Mark, you better save your money for a rainy day.” Moms are great with advice like that and mine was certainly no different. I probably should have turned down the volume on my Led Zeppelin 8 track and listened a little closer. However, given the ever-increasing cost of water, maybe what she should have told me was “You better save your rain for a sunny day”!
Findings in a 2011 report compiled by Circle of Blue show the nation’s largest cities saw water costs rise by an average of 9%, with rates expected to continue to climb. Some areas of the country, like Texas, hardest hit by recent drought conditions may see water prices escalate even faster. Water is truly becoming the new “gold” standard.
In his ValleyCrest Takes On water blog titled “We Have Plenty of Water”, Alan Harris makes the argument that we have all the water we will ever need. Mr. Harris writes, “We have had the same amount of water we have always had, about 326 million cubic miles and will continue to have the same amount of water as long as the earth and the atmosphere is in tact.” While this may be true, water may not always be where or when we need it and its scarcity or lack of available, efficient delivery systems can greatly increase the costs.
Another one of my Mom’s standards was “Don’t forget to do your homework!” Not bad advice back then and even better advice now. If I would have saved my money and done my homework there’s no telling where I would be today! Well, it’s never too late so I cracked the books and did some research. I’m finding there is a “new” old way of saving water and money….rainwater harvesting.
History of Rainwater Harvesting
Rainwater harvesting can be traced back over 3000 years. In Jordan, King Mesha of Moab, commanded that all citizens dig cisterns for the collection of rainwater. Failing to comply with those water-saving guidelines probably resulted in more than a fine! In ancient Rome, atrium-fed rainwater collection cisterns were common place and are an important part of the region’s history. However, until recently, rainwater harvesting has been mostly forgotten or relegated to the small individual efforts of tree-huggers or hippies. They probably didn’t turn down the Led Zeppelin either!
Rainwater Harvesting Today
Due to rising costs and water shortages, there is a new buzz towards the age-old practice of rainwater harvesting. In a recent report by the Natural Resources Defense Council eight cities were studied for the potential economic impact of water harvesting. It is estimated the residents of these cities could save over 90 million dollars each year by adopting simple rain collection techniques. The study also finds that rainwater harvesting is not just applicable in residential settings; it can also be used on a commercial basis. Businesses can harvest rainfall from rooftops and parking surfaces with the potential of satisfying 21% to 75% of their annual water needs.
Many states are also getting into the act by providing resources for those individuals and businesses interested in water harvesting. For example, The Texas Water Development Board has created a Rainwater Harvesting Manual which outlines many methods of collection, formulas to estimate system sizing, available rebates and a wealth of other information.
When it comes to water harvesting, the need is now, resources are readily available and cost-saving benefits are measurable. Rainwater harvesting has evolved. What’s that Mom?…..Everything old is new again? Moms are always right! Not to worry, I’m finally saving my money, doing my homework and only occasionally running with scissors in my hand!
Mark is a veteran leader in the landscape and irrigation industry with over 35 years of commercial horticultural experience. As a licensed commercial irrigator, he has first-hand knowledge of the rapidly changing advancements in water technology. In his leadership role, with ValleyCrest’s National Sales Operations team, Mark is a resource for our local branch teams and customers alike.
Residing in Texas, he is at the forefront of the nation’s water debate. With continually changing climatic conditions, reoccurring statewide droughts and ever-increasing government water regulations, Texas has been the testing ground for numerous, industry-changing conservation practices. Mark’s long-term involvement in these changes has helped him become expert in the field of sustainability.