Water Catchment Article and Discussion

Hi David & Bob,

I totally agree with both of your points. The issues of “watergy” (water & energy – elec pumping and Natural Gas heating) & the benefits to mitigating GHG’s from on-site localized capture, storage and use and in reuse for irrigation of greywater have not been lost in my vernacular with the policy makers!

As we (SCWC tech session) were told by the Santa Rosa staff folks, a 55 gallon drum under your downspout with a garden hose on it and no connection to the municipal plumbing is still considered an “auxiliary” water supply, like an old well, and thus necessitates the purchase and installation of a several hundred dollar double back flow prevention device at the street, annual inspection of it for $60 to $100 and a $60 permit fee. Talk about lack of incentives!! Yet as long as Santa Rosa and the other cities continue to see their water as super cheap per gallon, since they are not paying the true cost of it for destroying the Eel and parts of the Russian as well as local groundwater, the numbers $ for an install of a urban roofwater system just don’t ‘pencil’ out!

In contrast, New Mexico is giving back money as “buy-down” incentives for roofwater systems. And Texas is going big on this…check the attached link for the Texas Rainwater guidelines from their legislative study.

Towards several of David’s points – I can’t remember if I have sent this group my rainwater harvesting policy/ordinance document as of yet? I have attached just to make sure. I put this resource together explicitly for politicians, policy makers and health department type folks as an easy reference document to have a look out in the world at what folks are doing from Australia to Texas & New Mexico!

I will keep you all more informed on these issues as they proceed, but I am have been actively engaged with Marin Municipal on rainwater harvesting. SPAWN received a grant to do education, public talks ( I will do one in July) and they install a couple demo systems in San Geronimo valley. OAEC’s WATER Institute with the Salmon Creek Watershed Council & Prunuske Chatham were funded by the Costal Conservancy to do a water conservation program, which will have a roofwater education and hopefully with other funds (NCIRWMP) we can support the install of some systems as demonstrations in the town of Bodega. Also, I am into talks with the director of the Mendocino County Water Agency and Redwood Valley Water and will be doing a public talk for them targeted to public officials and water system managers in July as well. And, although it is very early on – an initial meeting with Sonoma County Health, PRMD & SCWA folks is in the making on the topics of greywater and roofwater systems.

So we shall see where it all goes. In the meantime busy busy busy…If we see little rain this winter – well then…! As they say – “planning is best done in advance” and in this rainwater harvesting world it is better to “save it on a rainy day” – so pray for rain to harvest this winter, but ya gotta have your systems in place in advance to capture it or else!!!

Mostly Water,

In addition to allowing Rain Water Capture, it would be nice if the county reframed from discouraging it. Currently such a storage tank would be taxed as an improvement instead of being subsidized as a way of increasing water availability and reducing the carbon footprint by eliminating pumping costs.

Bob Rawson

It would be great to get model ordinances from this group that are workable or existing under California law, and that can be adopted within municipalities of our Sonoma cities’ sizes, as well as by the county.

This means clearing Dept of Health, building departments, and zoning/land use scrutiny, plumbing and building codes, along with enough examples of existing legal catchment systems and legislation to give our politicians the cover and rationale and format they need to put this in place.

If we can provide this as a package, along with the best messaging for why this should be legal public policy, we’ll have a much easier time of getting this practice adopted and built.



FYI!!! Brock


Educational Conference and Membership Meeting of the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association


September 15 -18, 2008 Sheraton Delfina Hotel 530 W. Pico Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90405

Rainwater catchment or “harvesting” is an ancient practice now enjoying a revival as an alternate water supply. The practice involved collecting rainwater from a roof or other surface before it reaches the ground and storing it for future use.

ARCSA promotes rainwater catchment systems in the United States through educational opportunities and the exchange of information at our Web site and through our workshops. Our membership consists of professionals working in city, state, and federal government, academia, manufacturers and suppliers of rainwater harvesting equipment, consultants, and other interested individuals. Membership is not limited to the US, and we encourage all rainwater harvesting enthusiasts to join our organization

Optional Accreditation Workshop Day/Sponsor Exhibit Set-Up Monday, September 15, 2008 8 am – 5 pm The Basics of Rainwater Harvesting All-day workshop for the general public and ARCSA members who are pursuing accreditation. Individuals seeking accreditation must apply through the ARCSA website and be approved for the course. Test must be turned in within 90 days.

ARCSA. American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association 919 Congress Ave., Suite 460 Austin, TX 78701 T: (512) 477-5445 F: (512) 477-9490 www.ARCSA.org