Rainwater Myths

This is a collection of a few of the more common misconception about rainwater collection we have heard.

“I already have a rain barrel(s), why would I want to spend money on a larger system?”
In Central Texas, the average annual rain fall is 32” so, if you have an average sized roof, say 1200 sq. ft., you could collect/save over 20,000 gallons per year. For those of you who have a rain barrel, now you can quantify all the water you are not catching. Those with rain barrels also likely struggle with limited water pressure making hand watering time-consuming and inefficient.

“Doesn’t all that water go ‘bad’?”
No. You do not have to use up rainwater within a given amount of time. Techniques such as automated irrigation, recirculation and aerators eliminate insect issues and keep water from stagnating so that collected rainwater can be stored indefinitely.

“But we’re in a drought and there’s no rain to collect…?”
Yeah, but, wouldn’t you want to catch it when it does rain?

Rain is inconsistent and rainwater harvesting systems help regulate the distribution of rain over an annual cycle. We suffer from an urban heat island effect that makes rain in the city more scarce in the summer. Thus, when your yard needs water most is when it’s least available. Austin has had watering restrictions since Sept. 2012. If we move to stage three, you will only be allowed to hand water your yard or garden with municipal water. If you have been collecting rain all along and have adequate storage capacity, you would still be able to irrigate with rainwater. Plus you can use the rainwater to protect your property from wildfires that keep company with drought.

“Droughts don’t last forever.”
Actually, most of us know that it’s worse. Water rationing is an annual fact and will likely increase as the population continues to grow. This has motivated the state to pass legislation stating that municipalities can not limit the use of rainwater. While indoor use of rainwater in Austin is currently limited to toilets and otherwise in debate, with the right kind of roof and localized treatment, you can bathe in, cook with and drink rainwater.

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