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Wicks - Another Storage Option

When we hear the term below-ground water storage, a buried cistern is what usually comes to mind. Yet there is another approach that has been used for centuries — a water wick. These structures hold water and release it slowly over time. They are also commonly known as Watson wicks or pumice wicks. >> more

Virtual Water: The Next Frontier

Water science is moving forward at an accelerating pace. With population growth and the end of plentiful, cheap water, the need to understand our water use and how to conserve water is now the topic of daily news and a common discussion item. >> more

Water Efficiency Rating Score (WERS) Program Wins Sustainable Santa Fe Award

The City of Santa Fe’s Sustainable Santa Fe Commission recently announced that the Water Efficiency Rating Score’s Development Team won a Sustainable Santa Fe Award. The Commission bestowed the honor in the “Water Adaptation” category for “developing an accurate and flexible tool to drive water conservation in measurable ways”. >> more

Do It Yourself Guide

This site has hundreds of articles on rainwater harvesting. But where to start? This is the right page for those that want to design and install a system on your own.

There are hundreds of parts in a typical-sized rainwater harvesting system and with time and research most aspects of a rain water harvesting system can be figured out. The tools on this page will help you get started. >> more

Capture and Learn

One day rainwater systems will be a standard feature of building construction just like indoor plumbing. It begins with relearning what is necessary and normal. We no longer allow buildings without indoor plumbing and in the future it will be the same for rainwater systems. Today, many schools ranging from kindergarten to college are installing rainwater harvesting systems. These systems are designed to capture rain water from the roofs and then store the water for future use. This is happening in our local Santa Fe Public Schools; a great place for rainwater systems. >> more

Rainwater: Good water with unlimited uses

For millennia, humans used rainwater for a variety of purposes including drinking, washing and irrigation. Yet these days, rainwater can be highly polluted and not suitable for use. Still, it is one of our purest sources for water and with the right treatment, it has many uses. When rain falls onto a polluted roadway or it becomes contaminated with everything it touches. But before it hits the ground, rainwater is relatively pure. Compared to well water (i.e., groundwater), which is typically very high in minerals, rainwater is cleaner and easier to purify. And unlike the water in lakes and streams (i.e., surface water), rainwater contains no pharmaceuticals, minerals or pollutants.>> more

Book Review: Your Water Footprint

Water science is continually moving forward at a faster and faster pace these days. With population growth and the end of easy, cheap water the need to understand our water usage and how to reduce it is becoming a daily news and discussion item. Your Water Footprint - The Shocking Facts About How Much Water We Use to Make Everyday Products by Stephen Leahy is a great example of a book that is shining the light on the impact we are having on the world's limited fresh water supply. utside the house. >> more

Outside In and Inside Out

Harvested rainwater is used predominantly for irrigation and occasionally, with treatment, for drinking water. There are other uses, too, but most of the time, this pure and precious resource is allowed to just run down the street. We need to rethink how we use this limited resource by exploring ways to use and reuse outside water inside the house and inside water outside the house. >> more

A Review of the City of Santa Fe Water Conservation Rebate Program

This first-time ever long-term rebate study analyzes the costs and benefits of water conservation rebates. It finds that water conservation rebates can be cost effective at saving water for utilities and consumers if designed properly. >> more

Greywater Gone Wild

Reusing greywater is a great way to conserve water. It also has some nice advantages —one can accurately predict the quantity a system will produce, plus it is rich in nutrients, which is great for landscaping. As a reminder, greywater is all water leaving the house that is not from the toilets or the kitchen. >> more

Bladders – Another Storage Option

The tank is the most expensive component of a rainwater harvesting system. This is true whether the tank is above ground or below ground. Consequently, many people opt to undersize the tank in order to save money. Fortunately, there are alternatives to solid-walled tanks that can reduce the cost of a system. >> more

The Big Thirst

The Big Thirst - The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water is a good read for those interested in learning more about our global water crisis. It offers stories from around the globe of both water shortages as well as water successes. From Las Vegas to Australia to Spain to Italy to Atlanta; engaging stories on how water is being used and how municipalities are struggling to meet surging water demands. >> more

Space Heating for Free

Most projects I design are fairly standard rainwater or thermal solar systems, but every now and then I get to design one that is far from routine. One such project involved space heating a small master bathroom for a local couple who cares a great deal about living a small energy footprint.A small electric heater would suffice for most folks. But this couple, who get monthly checks from PNM >> more

Active Water Management

There are many ways to save water — conservation, passive rainwater catchment, onsite recycling (i.e., greywater) and active rainwater catchment. All of these methods require that you actively manage your water use, as opposed to just paying your bill each month and not thinking about how much water you use.

Comparing Rainwater Storage Options

Storage tanks, usually the most expensive component of the rainwater harvesting system, come in a wide variety of sizes and types. When deciding on the type of tank to use, the main factors to consider include where you live and your budget. >> more

Rainbarrels - A Great Place to Start

These days rain barrels are very easy to acquire for catching the rain. Most garden and landscape stores stock them in a wide variety of colors, sizes and shapes. Not only can sizes and materials vary but also the design. Gone are the days of plain, brown or green food-grade barrels. >> more

Save Energy, Save Water, and Be Smart About It

Many of us want to live more sustainably and yet feel overwhelmed by the many options and conflicting views that are out there. Should I install a photovoltaic system, a rainwater harvesting system, a geothermal or solar thermal system? All are good options and if done properly will increase your water/energy security, save dollars over the long term, and help reduce your carbon/water footprint. Many of us are not fortunate enough to do them all so we have to prioritize. And to do that, we need information. Water and energy audits are a great way to start. >> more

Residential Gutters

Gutter sizing is an aspect of rainwater collection that has been studied extensively and can be calculated based on published guidelines in the plumbing codes. For example, the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) recommends that a gutter system be able to carry the runoff of the heaviest 60 minute downpour recorded in the last 100 years. >> more

UV and Carbon Filtration - A Common Oversight

Many rainwater harvesting systems used for drinking water rely on a combination of sediment filters, carbon filters and ultraviolet (UV) light to remove all unhealthy impurities and ensure the water is potable. This common water purification system has proven effective for decades; however, it is not equally effective in all systems. >> more

Once is Never Enough, Use it Twice

There are numerous ways to make your water go further these days. One easy but often overlooked method to cut your water bill is to use your water twice. Unlike electricity, water can be reused over and over again. Installing a greywater system is one way to stretch your gallons.>> more

Is Rainwater Harvesting a Good Investment?

Is harvesting rainwater a good investment? We will explore that question in depth in this three-part series, beginning in Part One with a traditional economic payback approach. The short answer is, yes, >> more

Tanks Can Be Beautiful

Culvert PictureThe award-winning home of Frank Herdman and Alice Temple proves that rainwater catchment tanks can add both beauty and functionality to a home’s design. Frank and Alice fell in love years ago with their Casa Solana Santa Fe neighborhood. They bought a fixer-upper Stamm house with poor natural lighting, low ceilings, and a small, broken-up floor plan and turned it into their dream home with natural lighting and a thoroughly contemporary design. >> more

Passive versus Active Rainwater Harvesting

There is wide spread interest in water conservation and specifically in capturing and rainwater harvesting in both residential and commercial buildings to reduce costs, reduce the environmental impact of the building and lessen the load on the municipal sewer and stormwater systems in the arid southwest where droughts are a way of life. Harvesting rainwater from rooftops is one solutions to conserving our precious water, where it can be used instead of municipal drinking water for many non-drinking water (i.e. non-potable) applications (e.g. landscape, toilet flushing) as well as drinking water. There are two general types of rainwater catchment systems - "active" or "passive". >> more

Rainwater Harvesting System Integrated into Home Design

This rainwater harvesting (RWH) system, with an above-ground, 7,500 gallon (usable) poured-concrete cistern, used for both potable and nonpotable purposes, was designed and constructed in 2001 as an integral part of a new single-family home in Key Largo, Florida. Rain is collected from a 1,700 square-foot white Galvalume roof and gathered in six-inch copper gutters with spash shields at roof valleys for occasional heavy downpours. Copper plumbing is used throughout the house as well. >> more

Rainwater Catchment System Pump Sizing

Pumps are an integral part of almost all rainwater catchment systems; however, sizing a pump correctly is not straightforward and installers often fail to make the appropriate calculations. Much has been written on pumps for irrigation systems and for wells, but rainwater harvesting pumps can be markedly different. This series of articles is aimed at shedding light on the differences and assisting in properly sizing rainwater pumps. This first article will explain pumps and general pumping concepts >> more

Potable Rainwater: Filtration and Purification

Rainwater harvesting is viewed by many, including the EPA, as a partial solution to the problems posed by water scarcity: droughts and desertification, erosion from runoff, over-reliance on depleted aquifers, and the costs of new irrigation, diversion, and water treatment facilities. Harvested rainwater in the U.S. is used mostly for irrigation; however, there is a growing interest in using rainwater for drinking and other indoor uses. >> more

Free Rain, Free Watering and Exercise All in One

Pedaling to Pump Water

Always looking to do more with less? Like help the environment and getting exercise at the same time? Well Larry Gilg did, and he found a way: "I hooked a water pump to a bicycle trainer and use it to pump water out of my rainwater system." Watering his yard, totally for FREE and getting exercise at the same time. >> more

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WATER NEWS

August 2015

'Bug-killing book' that cleans up to 100 litres of murky water passes field trials

How California Is Winning the Drought

Natural Uranium Contamination in Major U.S. Aquifers Linked to Nitrate

July 2015

Community resilience in face of drought

Water Crisis Brings Out Puerto Rico’s Creative Side

Less than Zero

How federal dollars are financing the water crisis in the West

13 ways to provide water and sanitation for nine billion people

California Is Sitting On The Solution To Its Drought Problem

Drought Sends U.S. Water Agency Back to Drawing Board

Should we learn to live without water

Don't let Texas' excess water go to waste

On Parched Navajo Reservation, ‘Water Lady’ Brings Liquid Gold

June 2015

Parched Southwest looks closely at turning salt water into fresh water

May 2015

Farmers Agree to Water Cuts in California

Your Contribution to the California Drought

Water Pricing in Two Thirsty Cities: In One, Guzzlers Pay More, and Use Less

Drought’s Extremes Tallied at Record-Low Lake Mead

April 2015

Drought Frames Economic Divide of Californians

Water Efficiency Rating Score (WERS) Program Wins Sustainable Santa Fe Award

Drought is not just a California problem

Mighty Rio Grande Now a Trickle Under Siege

There's A Simple Way To Make A Big Dent In California's Drought. Why Aren't Government Officials Promoting It?

California Imposes First Mandatory Water Restrictions to Deal With Drought

March 2015

It’s time to get serious about the California drought

California Has One Year of Water Left

The Southwestern Water Wars

Draft ASPE Standard - Electrochemical Drinking Water Treatment Systems

February 2015

Lawns v oysters

Portland is now powered by water pipes and flushing toilets

U.S. 'Megadroughts' Are Likely Later This Century, Study Finds

New Dangers Found In Produced Water

Florida's Water Waste Prompts Look at Recyling

Dirty California Water Linked To Obesity

Researchers Call For Changes In 50-Year-Old Drinking Water Standards

January 2015

Onwards to a future of grey and black water

Rain, rain, don't go away

First Ever Performance-Based Comparative Water Use Rating Tool for Home Builders

Big Fracking Question: Is Our Drinking Water at Risk

New SWIFT fund will pump millions into water projects in Texas

Water plan tackles critical issue of supply and demand

Reclaimed Water May Cut Need for Fertilizer

National – States React to New Era of Water Scarcity

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