Harvest rainwater to save on usage

Capturing precipitation lowers utility expenses, conserves resources

Staff report
Capturing rainwater for use in landscape irrigation is a cost-effective method of water conservation.

Since landscape irrigation increases water use by 35 to 75% during the summer irrigation season, Texas A&M AgriLife recommends landscape water conservation practices be adapted to reduce water use, save money, and still maintain a beautiful landscape. Water conservation is the easiest and least expensive method to make water resources sustainable for future use.

If you do not use city water to irrigate, then water and money saving is your whole water portion of your water bill. In many communities, 30 to 70 percent of the total water used is used for landscape irrigation. If water demand for this limited natural resource is reduced, everyone benefits.

Rainwater harvesting is an innovative approach to capture rainwater to use for irrigation. Rainwater is good for plants because it is free of salts and other minerals that harm root growth. As rainwater percolates into the soil, it forces salts down and away from root zones, allowing roots to grow better and making plants more drought tolerant.

Rainwater harvesting captures, diverts, and stores rainwater for later use. Rainwater can supply water for household, landscape, wildlife, and agricultural uses. Rainwater is even used for drinking, with proper treatment. But the easiest way to use stored rainwater is for landscape irrigation. Harvesting rainwater for use in the home landscape:

· Saves you money by reducing your water bills

· Reduces demand on the municipal water supply

· Makes efficient use of a valuable resource

· Reduces flooding, erosion, and contamination of surface water with sediments, fertilizers and pesticides in rainfall run-off

Why harvest water?

· Promotes self-sufficiency and an appreciation for water resources

· Promotes water conservation providing a “new” water resource

· Saves energy requiring only a small pump or gravity flow to create water pressure in household pipes or landscaping hoses

· Rainwater often has a nitrogen content which provides a slight fertilizing effect on landscapes

· Local erosion and flooding from impervious cover associated with buildings is lessened as a portion of a local rainfall is diverted into collection tanks with less polluted stormwater to manage

· Rainwater is one of the purest sources of water available. Its quality almost always exceeds that of surface or groundwater.

A 2,000 square foot home could “harvest” 1,200 gallons of rainwater from a one-inch rainfall. Go to https://rainwaterharvesting.tamu.edu/ to learn more.

For further information, contact Mark Arnold, County Extension Agent-Agriculture/Natural Resources, 701 South I-35 E Service Road #3, Waxahachie, or call 972/825-5175 or email: wmarnold@ag.tamu.edu.