The Hopi declaration of water states, “What we do to our water, we do to ourselves”. A scary reality in the West, where aquifer levels steadily decline, arsenic continues to poison city water, and new development is threatened with an inadequate assured water supply.
In the face of such monumental water shortage challenges, rainwater harvesting offers a solution.
High Desert Rain Catchment of Prescott, Arizona is hosting workshops geared towards do-it-yourself types who want to learn about installing their own rainwater harvesting systems. The next workshop will dive into “best practices”, active and passive methods of water collection, filtration, pumps and irrigation system inter-tie.
The ancient practice of rainwater collection has sustained life, economy and agriculture in many communities throughout history. Today, harvesting rainwater from roofs, and other surfaces is seeing a welcome revival across the United States, although it breaches orindances in many places. Utilizing a roof and gutters, low maintenance technology delivers rainwater into a storage cistern, where it remains readily available. This water may then be used to irrigate plants during dry months. Many skeptics still believe there is not enough rain in the desert to collect, let alone depend upon.
However, Margaret Nicoll, of High Desert Rain Catchment in Prescott, tells us that “one-inch of rain on a thousand sq. ft roof yields up to 600 gallons of free water.
If we take advantage of our brief and powerful Monsoon seasons, we can significantly decrease our dependencies on city or well water”. Sibling MacRae Nicoll, Owner of High Desert Rain Catchment, says, “With an efficient system design, through point of source production, enough water may be harvested to entirely sustain a home’s water needs throughout the year.” Nicoll is a permaculture design expert and has installed over 100,000 gallons of rainwater storage across Northern Arizona. With the help of a professional, a simple and cost-effective system may be constructed for irrigation to provide a guilt free gardening experience. Plants are not the only ones to benefit from the purity of rainwater.
Large-scale potable systems (drinking quality) eliminate salts, arsenic and other contaminants that plague municipal water supplies. In an effort to support water conservation, The State of Arizona has begun rewarding taxpayers who install a rainwater harvesting system by providing a tax credit for 25% of the system cost, up to $1,000. And recently, the City of Prescott has moved in the same positive direction by giving municipal water users a credit on their water bill for .10 cents per gallon of installed storage capacity. While you enjoy the extra money in your pocket, mother Earth will thank you for bringing her closer towards a safe yield. For more information on rainwater harvesting visit www.highdesertrain.com.
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