rainwater collection...ideas/questions

joeschmoe80(6 (Ohio))July 8, 2013

OK, we all know about rain barrels, collect rainwater from your roof via your downspouts.

However...can it get more elaborate? If you have a walkout basement, and your back porch is the "low point", theoretically, a lot of your property's runoff would go there. Why not put a drain in your porch that runs into an underground storage tank?

Or, if your property slopes downward to a low point, put a drain there that would collect the runoff for use later? That way, all the water and soil nutrients that run off can be "recaptured" for your own use!

You might not want to bathe in it, but for irrigation it might work quite well!

However...even as I brainstorm, I have some potential issues:

1. Dirt. Runoff has dirt in it from your lawn, garden, etc. Dirt that can clog up distribution pipes, hoses, irrigation systems, etc. Can an effective filtering system be made to remedy this? Not to mention potential chemicals like fertilizer...but again, I'm saying not to bathe in it. It would be to go right back onto the plants it ran off of to begin with when a dry spell hits.

2. Moving the water. Gutter water naturally flows down with gravity. If you're collecting water from the low point in your yard, you may have to pump it back UP somehow to a tank on another part of the property.

Am I on to something here?? Or...has it been done?

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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

I've thought about this. It seems that it would - A - be VERY expensive and B - you'd need a pretty big tank that would either have to be very ugly above ground, or strong enough (read: expensive) to reside underground...which would make unclogging it pretty hard once that need arose...and it would.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 5:12PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

I read about a college campus in, I think, Wyoming with a 40,000 gallon storage tank. Probably just rooftop rain, but it's a decent amount.

When I did the math, that almost doesn't seem worthwhile. A 1" watering over an acre is about 22k gallons. A college campus of many acres...you'd use that water in one irrigation cycle...and a place like WY doesn't get enough rain to replenish that very quickly.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 9:28AM
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You have a great idea but it has been around since the Romans or even earlier. The system you are describing is a cistern catchment system. It is used in Bermuda because they have very little ground water. Many mountain homes collect water to runoff into an elevated tank. Before systems that used pumps, surface water was collected and bucketed up for use from the cistern or well. The expensive part is pumping to where you want it used and the cost of making the storage cistern.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 10:01PM
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