Saturday, August 8, 2009

Rain Water Harvesting Has Become Necessary

We live in a small town in north central Texas. This little town was grossly mismanaged for many years. They were breaking all kinds of water and waste water laws. When they got caught, guess who had to pay to fix it. That's right the humble citizens of the little town. We are mostly middle middle class. No one is wealthy. This last month our water bill went up 45% and the sewage fees went up 85%. Now my family is able to absorb this ridiculous cost, but what about the elderly? What about those who have lost jobs? Seriously, they are kicking the people while they are down.

I have installed two rain barrels this year. I have about a 185 gallon per rain event capacity and plan on adding another three barrels for another 190 gallons soon. I have been doing this to be good to the planet and good to my plants. Now, I am seeing that this may be much much more important than all that. It may be a matter of being able to continuing to garden during dry times. Between rain water harvesting, gray water reuse and a seriously heavy layer of mulch over everything, I have managed not to increase out water use over the summer months. Even with these measures, our water bill was $55 higher than last month.

The question now is how to get this message out to the others in my community?


  1. I think you're doing it. Editorial? Is it against code to use gray water in your area? Otherwise, you can talk about that in your editorial as well.

  2. Becca, I am sure that there is some rule that has never ever been followed about gray water. In fact, the water dept had an article in the paper last year suggesting reusing gray water. I think I am going to try to get a rain water harvesting class set up for our town in the next month if our specialist can handle it.

  3. WOW! That a huge increase for the citizens to have to absorb. You're right that it won't be fair for those that are already down. Not fair at all. SO glad you have rain barrels to help out. I put in three 55 gallon rain barrels right before our last rain of the season in April and filled them almost all the way. It's amazing how much water runs off the roof that people don't even realize.


  4. I made two rain barrels some years back, but they're only 110 gallons in total. I have another 35-gallon overflow barrel (and yesterday, when it rained all day, I added a second 35-gallon overflow barrel, yes, while getting wet!). They're all full! I love rain barrels.

  5. Geez I guess they are trying to make money anywhere they can. 55 dollars is a lot to go up in one month! We have a well here so we don't pay city water charges. It never rains here in the summer months so a rain barrel wouldn't work for us either)-: If there was a way to save the winter rain water that would be cool! We would need a huge tank!

  6. Debbi, does your community ever have a garden tour? I went on a garden tour in the spring sponsored by the water company. One of the requirements to be on the tour was that you had to have some sort of a rain barrel. Every home had different way of saving rain. They had information at every home on what to do--and how much money you could save, and how very important it is to do this. Maybe this would work for you.

  7. Aunt Debbie,
    If you are successful in getting your rainwater harvesting class together next year, please also instruct your classes the importance of keeping rain gutters exceptionally clean all year long, so that you will harvest more and cleaner water for your barrels.
    Hate cleaning rain gutters? So, did I. For more than 60 years, I've cleaned gutters using all different methods available, at the time. I worried about falling off ladders, as I've "matured," so now I'm using a great brand new method of vacuuming gutters with the Gutter Clutter Buster, a wet/dry vac attachment, which removes all debris, wet or dry while you stay safe on the ground. It removes stagnant water that breeds mosquitoes and other debris that would go into your rain barrels.
    I applaud you for the great job you're doing in your little town. I pray more folks will realize the importance of what you are doing. As my granny use to tell me, " only takes one person to make a difference."
    God bless you, your little town in Texas, and God Bless America.

  8. I wish I had some rain barrels. I would have filled them last night! It rained heavy for hours. It was the most lightning i have ever seen.

  9. Ouch, that's gotta hurt. I'm glad I have a well at times like these. I still want rain barrels though. I think a class would be a great idea. Best of luck in your endeavors.

  10. Good for you Deb. And rain water makes an excellent cup of tea! :)

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