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Tale of Two Cities Rainwater Harvesting in Taos
Water - Why Care
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Chlorination, Part I
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Is Rainwater Safe
Potable Rainwater: Filtration and Purification
UV Purification
UV and Carbon Filtration

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Climate Change Greenest Roof
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MORE ARTICLES

Tap to Toilet Versus Tap to Toilet - Same Words, Totally Different SolutionsToilet with faucet in it

Much is being written about 'Tap to Toilet' these days as a new water source for municipal water providers. This type of tap water is your old toilet water cleaned and sent back to the tap. As you can imagine these are big, costly water infrastructure projects.


Florida Environmental Demonstration HouseAction Learning at Florida House: A Rainwater Harvesting Case Study

The Florida House Learning Center is a demonstration home and yard featuring an environmentally-friendly building, rainwater harvesting, and sustainable landscaping materials and methods. >> more

Oregon School Showcases Demo Rainwater System

The DaVinci Living Water Garden project is a collaboration between DaVinci Arts Middle School and Urban Water Works, a non-profit organization. The goal of the project is to educate students and citizens about storm water runoff and water quality, while also using the arts to celebrate the aesthetic properties of water.The DaVinci project reroutes storm water runoff from roofs and parking lots, into cisterns and a 7,200 square foot water garden, and was designed and built by the students, teachers and parents of this school.>> more

Albuquerque's Aggresive Water Programs Make A Difference

Albuquerque, a city in the arid Southwestern United States, has grown by 120,000 residents in the last 20 years but consumed less water last year than in any previous year since 1985. >> more

How Large A Tank is Right For Me?

Once you have decided you want to capture rainwater, the question of how big a tank is your next decision. This simple question leads to many other variables to be taken into consideration. From a mathematical point of view, how large is your catchment surface (i.e. typically your roof area), multiplied by how much rain do you receive annually, multiplied by .623 (i.e. the amount of rain in inches per square foot). >> more

Alternative Water Sources

An excellent overview article on the different sources of available water appeared in a recent edition of the Environmental Building News (EBN). The article opens by drawing the case for “alternative sources” due to climate change, growing population and current unsustainable groundwater extractions. It then briefly mentions the need for efficiency and the different uses of water (i.e. potable and nonpotable),>> more

Local Pioneer: Jody Drew's Home-Made Water

Jody's HouseHave you ever dreamed about living off the grid and enjoying a totally self-sufficient lifestyle in a house you helped build? Jody Drew is living her dream. Years of dreaming and a ton of hard work came to reality in 2003. She harvests both rainwater and solar energy to live simply and more sustainably.

Bookreview: 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

How Many Rainwater Guides Are Enough?

As a few of you know, one of my pet peeves is the overabundance of largely repetitive rainwater harvesting guidebooks. How many is enough? Do we really need to continue spending hard earned taxpayers monies (or even private monies, for that matter) on doing numerous manuals on rainwater catchment? Do we need one for every city in the US or every major city in the world? Do these really create value? >> 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

One Way To Conserve on the Ranch and Farm

Agriculture and ranching consume a substantial amount of potable and pumped water around the country, and to some extent in Northern New Mexico. In some areas of the US, farms and livestock consume up to 60% of overall water use. This water is usually either clean, highly processed potable water or well water pumped from precious underground aquifers. >> 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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