Thursday, May 10, 2012

Rainwater Harvesting (Conservation)

Dang it! I should've had my rainwater harvest system in place, we have gotten over five inches of rain in the past three days. It has been glorious!

I hope my friends in the panhandle are getting some of this rain, they need it badly to make a crop this year!

Rainwater harvesting...sounds like something only tree hugging hippies would talk about but let me tell you there is some pretty amazing things that can be done to conserve our precious aquifer water. 

Sam being in the extension service allows him to meet interesting people and learn about tons of new ideas.  Three years ago Sam started talking to me about a man in Menard, named Billy Kniffen, now a retired Texas Agri Life Extension specialist.

Sam was so amazed that this gentleman and his wife live solely off of rainwater, they do not have a water well or any source of municipal water.

So how can you do it???

First off you have to have a a gutter system installed either to your house or barn.  Then you have to connect pipes and filters to complete the system.

The Kniffens house and barn total about 5,900 square feet of rainwater catchment and can capture roughly 2,900 gallons of water per inch of rain! That is amazing!!

This is the Kniffens home in Menard.

This is their barn.  You could also bury the tanks if you didn't want to see them however here in the hill country the amount of rock you would have to dig out might not be worth the cost.

This is the most amazing part. The Kniffens overall average water consumption was 35 gallons per person per day in 2004. This amounts to 70 gallons a day, 2,100 gallons a month and 25,550 gallons a year.  

The average consumption in the US is usually around 84 gallons a day per person.  

In an area that gets about 22 inches of rainfall a year, the roof of the barn and house are capable of catching over 63,000 gallons a year.  Given the Kniffens sparing light use of water, they will typically have a 7 month supply at any given time.  

They only need 8.81 inches of rain a year to meet their water needs.  

Now how awesome would it be to use the rest of that water to feed your family.  I think watering your garden and livestock with harvested water is the epitome of conservation.  

Here is another idea for all of you farmers and ranchers. 

This is a great recycled use for all the chemical shuttles around.  There is a company out of Brady called Ag Crete Enterprises that is rigging these tanks up with a roof and gutter system and trough to water livestock/wildlife.  Pretty conservative!  

Well I know I have missed the opportunity to catch many gallons of rainwater this week but hopefully we will have some kind of system working by the end of this summer!

Happy Rainwater Harvesting!


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