Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Merriwether harvests the sky.

We are on something like day infinity of a drought here in Texas which is leading to massive water bills as I try to keep the local HOA off my back. Apparently a green lawn is more important than a water shortage. Luckily the state of Texas is a bit wiser than most Home Owner's Associations because they (TX gov.) has actually passed a law making anything purchased for a rainwater harvesting system tax-free. I'd had three 55-gal drums originally used to ship Greek peppers to collect rainwater, but on Father's Day I added another three 66-gal Pepsi concentrate drums and a pre-flusher to my system. Now if it actually ever rains I'll be set to collect clean, clear water for my backyard permaculture food forest.

The main system.

The white drum held the Pepsi concentrate. The 4" PVC tubing is the preflush system. The first water coming off the roof will be loaded with dust, leaves, bird poop, and assorted other material I don't want in my barrels. This dirty water fills the PVC pipe before switching over to the barrels. This preflusher is simple but requires me to manually drain it by unscrewing the cleanout plug at the end.


Secondary barrels.

This system gives me over 350 gallons of rainwater. I wish I had steel roofing rather than asphalt shingles as with a metal roof I could easily purify this water for drinking. Asphalt shingles leach out toxins that are difficult to remove.

Adventure! Excitement! Rain!


Wayne D. said...

You know, for a split second there I thought I saw a marijuana plant, but then I saw the extra leaves :)

I like the system. I have a useless area behind my AC unit beside my house. I should check and see if my HOA or local government declares this forbidden.

I know some places think this keeps water from getting to the aquifer. If you are using it for your own yard I can't see how this makes a difference in the amount of groundwater.

Shreela said...

Nice! Maybe you could see if cloth tarp or fiberglass over your asphalt tiles works, like I found on this page:

I don't think I'd try using the Membrane Roofing Material after looking it up on Wikipedia.

Shreela said...

I forgot to ask how you got the pepsi concentrate container.

Merriwether said...

Shreela, I got the Pepsi barrels from the Indus Valley Sustainable Living Institute in The Woodlands, TX. http://www.indusvalleysustainablelivinginstitute.com/

They offer rain barrel-making classes along with all sorts of other cool classes.

Shreela said...

Thanks! I bookmarked this so I can see what's available when I return from taking care of my mother (surgery, hopefully they can get everything done with the scope).

The mushroom class also caught my eye.