Rainwater harvesting

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Postby Sweejak » Sun Nov 11, 2007 11:07 pm

You guessed flat-corn-country-Iowa, right Swee?

Oh no I was way way off wasn't I? The color of the rocks looked wrong but the mention of coal took me in that direction.
I need to visit Iowa, the closest I've been is Illinois.
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Postby chiggerbit » Mon Nov 12, 2007 12:26 am

Let me know when you are coming up this way.
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Postby Sweejak » Mon Nov 12, 2007 12:35 am

Nothing planned but same here. If your down this way, we have plenty of room.
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Postby chiggerbit » Fri Feb 08, 2008 8:10 pm

Yikes, this law would seem to presume that precipitation is the property of the state. When will this apply to air? This is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard.

http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/15 ... etail.html

DENVER -- Ever collected rainwater in a bucket to water the garden? There's a law about that in Colorado and, technically, it says you can't.

A state senator from Denver wants to allow homeowners to collect water that drains off up roofs up to 3,000 square feet so ranchers and farmers could use it to water livestock and metro area residents could use it to water their lawns and gardens.

Democratic Sen. Chris Romer said the bill, which had its first hearing Thursday, could also be used to fight fires and eliminate the need for more dams and reservoirs by providing "microstorage" of water across the state. However, water interests, including Denver Water, are concerned about the proposal, and Romer asked members of the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources & Energy Committee for another week to make some changes before voting on the bill.

"We shouldn't let 100 years of tradition and law avoid the common sense solution," said Romer, who wants to install a cistern at the house he's building in Denver.

Colorado's water law doesn't specifically talk about buckets or cisterns, but the principle of prior appropriation applies. That means water, including whatever falls from the sky and off your roof, must be allowed to flow downstream to those who have a legal right to use it.

"When it's in the sky it's fine. But as soon it hits the ground, or on the way to the ground, that's where it kind of changes a little," said Doug Kemper, executive director of the Colorado Water Congress.

Some of the water, of course, gets soaked up by the ground and never makes it to streams. However, if a lot of people in the Denver area, for example, starting catching and saving water that fell on their homes, Kemper said it could lower the amount of water flowing in the South Platte River to farmers on the state's plains and beyond. Since most of the state's rivers and streams have more water rights than water, often people with newer rights don't get all the water they're entitled to, Kemper said.

Chris Piper, a water resource engineer for Denver Water, said the agency is open to working with Romer since the proposal has the potential to offset the need for expensive, large-scale water projects. The agency has suggested limiting the number of houses in the Denver area that would participate for a set time so the amount of water lost to the streams could be measured. Denver Water would have to make up for any decrease but Romer said he would be willing to pay extra to make up for that use because he would still be using less water from the tap.

Sen. Jim Isgar, D-Hesperus, said lawmakers could also limit the proposal to sparsely populated areas, where there is no municipal water supply.

Kemper said he's never heard of anyone actually getting in trouble for having a bucket and collecting water. It would be up to the state engineer, who keeps track of the use of the state's water, to decide. A message to his office wasn't immediately returned.

There's also the gray area of directing gutter pipe water toward the tomatoes or collecting extra water in the shower with a bucket.

Kemper admits he's one of many people who direct downspouts across the lawn, which apparently doesn't violate the law since it's just directing, not stopping, the water. The shower question, which he said came up a lot in the 2002 drought, is more tricky because another water principle comes into play.

With few exceptions, water law says you can only use water once and then you have to let it go. So Kemper said some people say it's OK to leave a bucket in the shower as you wait to regulate the water temperature because that's like filling it up at the tap. Others think that collecting water while you're in the shower is wrong because the water has already been used once, to wash, and should go down the drain.

And what about water that ends up collecting in your flower box?

"At some point it just gets silly," Kemper said.
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Rainwater Club

Postby annie aronburg » Sat Feb 09, 2008 12:40 pm

I have a pen pal in Bangalore who sends me interesting links to topics of mutual interest.

The more I correspond with her, the more I realize I'm on the wrong damn continent.

http://www.rainwaterclub.org/ has been working on water related problems and awareness for more than a decade now and lately they are wanting to spread awareness by encouraging simple videos made with simple cameras.

The Rainwater Club is happy to announce a Do it yourself video movie making competition on Rainwater Harvesting. The competition is global and entries are to follow these rules.

The video clip has to be uploaded on youtube.
The clip should be 2.30 minutes or less in length
The clip can be in any language , the movie should however convey the idea clearly.
It could be on ANY aspect of Rainwater harvesting
It should be however on an implemented project and should not be a theoretical construct.
The evaluation criteria is on the simplicity and effectiveness of the movie as a behaviour change tool.The movie should be able to persuade a lot of people to DO rainwater harvesting
The last date for submitting entries is February 15th 2008
There are no limits to the number of entries that can be submitted
Entries need to be submitted as links to the movie on youtube to rainwaterclub@gmail.com with the subject as Movie. The best 3 movies will receive wide publicity and gift coupons for books.

Some of the youtube clips are posted here:

http://rainwaterharvesting.wordpress.co ... tegorized/

This video demonstrates how a simple bacterial content test of water can be done at home now...

More as I get them.

it's all in me
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Postby Joe Hillshoist » Sat Feb 09, 2008 8:31 pm

On the face of it that law in Denver seems mad chig.

Its never been an issue in Australia where most of the population live along the coast, and there is no groundwater, tho we do have aquifers.

Its only been the last 5 years, and occasionally after about 1980 that water really became scarce.

There are issues with irrigation in the murray darling basin tho, with people downstream claiming those upstream take too much water, and I can see why it might be necessary to stop harvesting in the middle of the US in that context. Adelaide, in South Australia depends on the Murray river for its water. Irrigators as far north as central Queensland also use the water that flows into that catchment, that water system supplies the countries "bread basket" so its one that causes plenty of heat.
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Postby chiggerbit » Sun Mar 23, 2008 10:07 pm

It's not peak oil, it's peak water we need to worry about.

http://www.hcn.org/servlets/hcn.Article ... e_id=17573


In early February, a series of fierce storms racked the Navajo Nation, which sprawls across more than 27,000 square miles of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. At dawn, the highways were burnished to an icy sheen that sent cars pinballing into ditches. As each day warmed, the misery took on a new quality: The dirt roads that crisscross the reservation melted into hash glish di’tsidi liba’, a goopy gray gumbo that sucked pickup trucks into a death grip. By late afternoon, on the cusp of the next storm, many Navajos, still stuck up to their axles in mud, were simultaneously sandblasted with wind-driven grit.

The tribe’s woes don’t end with the weather. Half the Navajos on the reservation are unemployed, and that number may actually be as high as 67 percent - no one can say for sure. More than 70 percent of those who do have jobs work for government agencies. The closure of a coal mine later this year, on top of another mine shutdown two years ago, will likely reduce tribal revenues by a third. Per capita income on the reservation is a little more than $8,000 a year.

Navajos often speak of the cosmic geography of the Four Sacred Mountains, which mark the boundaries of their ancestral homeland. But the lives of many people here are shaped by a more pragmatic geography, centered on a coin-op water dispenser in a muddy turnaround behind a city maintenance building in downtown Gallup, N.M. A water pipe with a piece of yellow fire hose hanging off the end sticks out the back of the building. Navajos load water tanks and blue plastic 55-gallon drums into the beds of their pickups and come here for drinking water. On weekends, the line can stretch around the block.

But on a bitter-cold Friday afternoon, the whole operation was seriously dorked. Ernest Leslie, who had driven 22 miles from Tohatchi, couldn’t get any water because a quarter was jammed in the coin slot. He tried to coax another coin into the machine with the tip of his pocketknife, but it popped back out like a bad joke and landed in the mud at his feet. "Huh," Leslie said. He looked down at the quarter. "Sometimes we have problems like this."

Even as the Southwest’s cities have flourished with water from the Colorado River, the Navajo Tribe has stood on the sidelines, holding an empty bucket - and waiting. For decades, it seems, the tribe has been just one good plan away from prosperity. Now, however, the Navajo Nation is beginning to assert its right to claim water from the river. Many Navajos feel that the tribe could soon transform water from something that eats up their quarters at 50 gallons a pop to a virtual jackpot. But as tantalizing as the prospect of river water is, it is also opening painful rifts on the reservation.

The capital of the Navajo Nation is a town called Window Rock, on the eastern edge of the reservation in Arizona. It is a slow-paced place with a couple of gas stations, a supermarket, and a clutch of mom-and-pop storefronts that serve up squash soup and roast mutton.

Lena Fowler lives on the other side of the reservation, but came to town in February for a tribal council meeting. A member of the tribe’s water rights commission, she has a cool intensity and a vaguely sexy set of crow’s-feet at the corners of her eyes. Fowler began by explaining how the language of white-dominated water law, saddled with abstruse notions like "qui prior est in tempore, potior est in jure" - Latin for "first in time, first in right" - often defies translation into Navajo. Then she conceded that water may, in fact, be a language unto itself.

"And when you speak water," she said, "people get real emotional.

"For us, for most of our Navajo people, they wake up in the morning (and) they go out and they pray. And once they’re done," she said, "they turn around and have to figure out how much water they have: Is it safe to drink the water at the windmill? Or do I have to go buy Clorox to treat it with? That’s where we are today."
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Postby chiggerbit » Mon Jun 29, 2009 4:20 pm

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/29/us/29 ... ml?_r=3&hp

It’s Now Legal to Catch a Raindrop in Colorado

DURANGO, Colo. — For the first time since territorial days, rain will be free for the catching here, as more and more thirsty states part ways with one of the most entrenched codes of the West.
Times Topics: Water
Enlarge This Image

Rick Scibelli, Jr./The New York Times

Janine Fitzgerald, associate professor of sociology at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo., depends on rainwater and solar power.
Enlarge This Image

Rick Scibelli Jr. for The New York Times

Tom Bartels of Durango said he had been “so willing to go to jail” for catching water on his roof and watering his garden.
Enlarge This Image

Rick Scibelli Jr. for The New York Times

Watering a lawn in Durango, Colo.

Precipitation, every last drop or flake, was assigned ownership from the moment it fell in many Western states, making scofflaws of people who scooped rainfall from their own gutters. In some instances, the rights to that water were assigned a century or more ago.

Now two new laws in Colorado will allow many people to collect rainwater legally. The laws are the latest crack in the rainwater edifice, as other states, driven by population growth, drought, or declining groundwater in their aquifers, have already opened the skies or begun actively encouraging people to collect.

“I was so willing to go to jail for catching water on my roof and watering my garden,” said Tom Bartels, a video producer here in southwestern Colorado, who has been illegally watering his vegetables and fruit trees from tanks attached to his gutters. “But now I’m not a criminal.”

Who owns the sky, anyway? In most of the country, that is a question for philosophy class or bad poetry. In the West, lawyers parse it with straight faces and serious intent. The result, especially stark here in the Four Corners area of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah, is a crazy quilt of rules and regulations — and an entire subculture of people like Mr. Bartels who have been using the rain nature provided but laws forbade.

The two Colorado laws allow perhaps a quarter-million residents with private wells to begin rainwater harvesting, as well as the setting up of a pilot program for larger scale rain-catching.

Just 75 miles west of here, in Utah, collecting rainwater from the roof is still illegal unless the roof owner also owns water rights on the ground; the same rigid rules, with a few local exceptions, also apply in Washington State. Meanwhile, 20 miles south of here, in New Mexico, rainwater catchment, as the collecting is called, is mandatory for new dwellings in some places like Santa Fe.

And in Arizona, cities like Tucson are pioneering the practices of big-city rain capture. “All you need for a water harvesting system is rain, and a place to put it,” Tucson Water says on its Web site.

Here in Colorado, the old law created a kind of wink-and-nod shadow economy. Rain equipment could be legally sold, but retailers said they knew better than to ask what the buyer intended to do with the product.

“It’s like being able to sell things like smoking paraphernalia even though smoking pot is illegal,” said Laurie E. Dickson, who for years sold barrel-and-hose systems from a shop in downtown Durango.

State water officials acknowledged that they rarely enforced the old law. With the new laws, the state created a system of fines for rain catchers without a permit; previously the only option was to shut a collector down.

But Kevin Rein, Colorado’s assistant state engineer, said enforcement would focus on people who violated water rules on a large scale.

“It’s not going to be a situation where we’re sending out people to look in backyards,” Mr. Rein said.

Science has also stepped forward to underline how incorrect the old sweeping legal generalizations were.

A study in 2007 proved crucial to convincing Colorado lawmakers that rain catching would not rob water owners of their rights. It found that in an average year, 97 percent of the precipitation that fell in Douglas County, near Denver, never got anywhere near a stream. The water evaporated or was used by plants.

But the deeper questions about rain are what really gnawed at rain harvesters like Todd S. Anderson, a small-scale farmer just east of Durango. Mr. Anderson said catching rain was not just thrifty — he is so water conscious that he has not washed his truck in five years — but also morally correct because it used water that would otherwise be pumped from the ground.

Mr. Anderson, a former national park ranger who worked for years enforcing rules and laws, said: “I’m conflicted between what’s right and what’s legal. And I hate that.”

For the last year, Mr. Anderson has been catching rainwater that runs off his greenhouse but keeping the barrel hidden from view. When the new law passed, he put the barrel in plain sight, and he plans to set up a system for his house.

Dig a little deeper into the rain-catching world, and there are remnants of the 1970s back-to-land hippie culture, which went off the grid into aquatic self-sufficiency long ago.

“Our whole perspective on life is to try to use what is available, and to not be dependent on big systems,” said Janine Fitzgerald, whose parents bought land in southwest Colorado in 1970, miles from where the pavement ends.

Ms. Fitzgerald, an associate professor of sociology at Fort Lewis College in Durango, still lives the unwired life with her own family now, growing most of her own food and drinking and bathing in filtered rainwater.

Rain dependency has its ups and downs, Ms. Fitzgerald said. Her home is also completely solar-powered, which means that the pumps to push water from the rain tanks are solar-powered, too. A cloudy, rainy spring this year was good for tanks, bad for pumps.

The economy has turned on some early rainwater believers, too. Ms. Dickson’s company in Durango went out of business last December as the construction market faltered. The rain barrels she once sold will soon be perfectly legal, but the shop is shuttered.

“We were ahead of our time,” she said.
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