are as many reasons for the growth of rainwater harvesting as
there are communities promoting and implementing such programs
around the U.S. Such factors as drought, population growth,
and increasing environmental awareness are driving the popularity
of community and state based incentives. Large-scale economics,
increasingly driven by the need to acquire new water sources,
and the need for new and more effective infrastructure, i.e.,
water treatment and distribution, are necessitating innovation
in the field.
Reasons Behind Rapid Growth
National interest is growing rapidly, as evidenced by active
programs, which now exist in almost all 50 states, including
states with historically abundant water, (i.e., Alaska, Florida,
and Hawaii), and states typically lacking in rainfall (i.e.,
New Mexico and Arizona). Some areas have multiple reasons for
water conservation or rainwater catchment, while others are
to reduce storm water runoff
Washington; Portland, OR
not to build new water distribution systems to rural neighborhoods
water quality or dropping water levels
Texas (rural areas), Florida
of acquiring new municipal water supplies
NM; Santa Fe, NM
NM; Santa Fe, NM; Bellingham, WA; Cary, NC
NM; Santa Fe, NM; Florida; Moscow, ID; Puma, Hawaii
in bold have multiple reasons for promoting rainwater
growth and lack of municipal water is driving the growth in
Hawaii. "About 75% of the current residences in the Puma
District of Hawaii are on water catchment systems", according
to Trisha Macomber, an academic support specialist for the University
of Hawaii's College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources,
and author of "Guidelines on Rainwater Catchment Systems
for Hawaii." And the area is exploding with one tank retailer
selling over 1,000 tanks a year and new building permits recently
averaging about 300 a month."
out of care and respect for their environment that they take
these steps to conserve", according to Anitra Accetturo,
Water Conservation Specialist for the city of Bellingham, Washington,
where the city does not meter water use to single-family residences.
Though water conservation is solely a matter of choice, lower
usage and rainwater harvesting efforts by local residents has
been increasing. The city has offered subsidized rain barrels
in the past and has a very active education program.
Lee and Bastrop counties in Texas, people talk about their concerns
of local water districts now putting meters on their water wells
that produce over 34 gallons per minute. "They want to
know that no one can just some day cut them off. These folks
have a choice of wells or in some cases municipal water, but
more and more of them are opting for full rainwater harvesting
systems", states Sam Brown, owner of Brown's Water Works
in Dale, Texas.
with a seemingly endless supply of water, cites growing population
and dropping well levels as the factors driving growth. Nearly
2,000 people have attended the rainwater and water conservation
workshops in the Hillsborough County area since they started
in 1998 and attendance has been increasing almost every year
since the program's inception. This year's attendance through
June of 2005 has almost surpassed the total attendance for all
of last year.
interest in Alaska is being driven by increase of rain and lack
of storm system infrastructure.
the reasons for the trend toward water catchment vary according
to region, America's growing thirst for water and increasing
awareness of the finite nature of this precious natural resource
will be driving growth and the need for innovation of rainwater
harvesting technology for a long time to come.