Rainwater harvesting is the collection and storing of rainwater for later use. The rainwater that is collected can be used for many purposes such as landscaping, reduced storm water, wildlife and livestock watering troughs, in the home, and fire protection. A rainwater harvesting system can range in size and purpose, depending up what you are trying to achieve. Some of the many benefits of having a system are erosion reduction, runoff and prevention of surface water contamination.

Water conservation is a preeminent issue in South Texas right now due to the history of drought in the region. Rainwater harvesting is an environmentally conscious way to conserve natural resources. Rainfall shortages are common in South Texas, but you would be surprised how much water you can capture with a rainwater harvesting system. The system also does not collect just rainwater. The heavy fog, morning dew and condensation produce large amounts of water when captured and stored. Air conditioning systems also produce tons of condensation that can be used in home landscapes and other great uses.

We encourage homeowners to start with a simple harvesting system; which is an effective and positive strategy for water conservation. As the owner becomes more and more involved they can gradually add more barrels or a larger system. For example, a 2,000 square foot roof can catch on average 1,200 gallons of rainwater per inch of rain. Since Corpus Christi gets about 32 inches of annual rainfall, the above mentioned roof would catch approximately 38 thousand gallons of water per year.

A small 50 gallon system would be perfect for anyone just starting out. Currently the City of Corpus Christi is offering rain barrels for those interested through a program called, “Catch a drop!” The rain barrels can be purchased through the programs website, for only $49.50, limit of 2 barrels per household has been placed so that they have plenty to go around. The deadline to order is March 22nd; pick up is March 28th between 9am and 1pm at the Water Utilities Building, 2726 Holly Road. For more information log onto www.rainbarrelprogram.org/CorpusChristi .