Rainwater Harvesting in Arizona
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  #1  
Old 02-18-2017, 06:42 PM
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Default Rainwater Harvesting in Arizona

I don't really spend all day Saturday on Orchid Board. I usually do a lot of heavy chores around the house, and take a break every now and then to come here.

We've had rain. Today I pumped what I collected into storage containers. I collect rain into a 300 gallon / 1100 liter Rubbermaid brand stock tank under one corner of my house.

Then I use a sump pump

Rainwater Harvesting in Arizona-sump_20170218_seca-jpg

to pump it into 32-gallon / 122 liter plastic trash barrels inside my sunroom. I have ten of them in there now, and all are full:

Rainwater Harvesting in Arizona-barrels_20170218_seca-jpg

These barrels cost around $15 each at Home Depot. They are made very cheaply, but they hold the water. I keep them covered to prevent mosquito infestation during the summer. (It is too cold for mosquitos now.) Inside the sunroom, there will be no trouble with ultraviolet degradation in sunlight. During the winter the mass of water keeps the room warmer at night, so I use less electricity to keep the room at 60 F / 15C. When I have run out of stored rain before the next storm, I have bought more barrels.

The sunroom was previously a large covered patio. Years ago I enclosed it with sliding glass doors so it could serve to overwinter tender plants. In the summer I run an evaporative cooler to keep it humid and lower in temperature than outside, for the orchids. The barrels are against the main house wall, farthest from the glass, an area that gets very little light.

The stock tank, where it sits now, on the concrete slab just outside the sunroom, fills up when we get about 1/2 inch / 1.25cm of rainfall. I could move it to a spot that gets much more runoff from my roof, but I would have to do some digging.

Previous to the stock tank and pump, I set a 32-gallon barrel under a runoff spot. I scooped rain out with 5-gallon / 20 liter buckets, storing it in those buckets, plus 1-gallon / 3.78 liter plastic milk jugs. During summer storms it rains so heavily I cannot keep up with scooping 5-gallon bucketsfull out of the barrel and carrying them a short distance to where I stored them. I greatly enjoyed doing this. It did wonders for my upper body strength and muscularity, as well as the weight loss factor of working in cold rain wearing just a swim suit. But it took too much time, so I switched to the bigger collection tank, barrels and sump pump.

When I eventually retire and my orchid collection goes even more out of control, I will arrange to store even more rain.
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  #2  
Old 02-19-2017, 09:47 AM
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I live where we usually get plenty of rain, but installing a 350 gal container to collect from the roof was the best thing I ever did for my plants. If I lived someplace dry I'd want to dig a pond that that collects off the roof and put a greenhouse over top of it. Kill several birds with one stone.
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Old 02-19-2017, 11:25 AM
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ES - Do you do anything to prevent stagnation or bacterial growth in your stored water or is that not a problem for you ? I also collect and store rainwater in 5 gallon pails , covered and sometimes they get a little smelly. Does that make the water unsafe to use or is it still ok ?
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Old 02-19-2017, 11:37 AM
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Great idea! We have a very low pitched roof and while we have gutters, our roofing material is not suitable for collection, sadly. I really need to get ahold of my sarcastic sense of humor.
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Old 02-19-2017, 12:00 PM
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The covered black plastic prevents light entry, so no algae growth. Algae did grow in plastic 1 gallon jugs, as well as white and orange 5-gallon buckets. I've never had water start smelling badly. I'm sure bacteria grow in the water, but so far not enough to matter. There's not a lot for them to eat in the dark.
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Old 02-19-2017, 12:03 PM
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I have algae and all kinds of stuff growing in my container. It never hurt any of the plants or fish I use it for. I suspect the thriving population of Ceriodaphnia that hitchhiked in keep it in check!
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Old 02-19-2017, 10:22 PM
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mosquito larvea is the worst. Little mosquito fish maybe, would take care of it.
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Old 02-19-2017, 11:22 PM
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All have covers for warm weather. I don't leave water in the open stock tank during mosquito season. What doesn't fit into the covered barrels goes into my pond to decrease evaporation-induced salinity.
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Old 02-20-2017, 11:00 AM
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That is a great set-up! Here, mosquitoes are such a dreadful problem that it would be difficult not to be breeding them if I collected water as you do. If I was still breeding Betta fish, it would be alright.
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Old 02-20-2017, 11:11 AM
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I collected 2 bigger size barrels for myself
cover it with lid each use.
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