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Home arrow The Daily Dirt arrow Thursday Techniques: Rainwater Harvesting
Thursday Techniques: Rainwater Harvesting Print E-mail
Written by Heleigh Bostwick    Thursday, 28 July 2016
Cistern at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

With drought-like conditions affecting places like Southern California, most of the continent of Australia, and plenty of other places in the world, rainwater collection or "harvesting", is becoming an increasingly necessary option for providing water for plants and gardens—and one that is used at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, TX.

Rainwater harvesting is the country cousin of urban stormwater runoff collection. In other words the end result is the same but the means to achieve it may be slightly different. The sophisticated rainwater harvesting system at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center includes a number of large natural stone cisterns (one of the cisterns is pictured above) and five sets of triple process water quality ponds with a 263,000-gallon capacity.

Rainwater is collected from rooftops and hard surfaces and run through a "roof washer" or filtering system that removes organic matter like leaves and pollen. From there it runs into a series of cisterns that drain to a central underground cistern, where it is then pumped into a large holding tank until it’s needed for irrigation. Pretty impressive especially since it doubles as an educational experience for visitors.

At home you may not have a series of cisterns and a central holding tank, but you can use rain barrels to collect rainwater to use in the garden. And of course you can design a rain garden to make sure rainwater replenishes the groundwater table instead of flowing into storm sewers.

One of our Daily Dirt readers suggested this topic and I'm glad she did because it’s an important one. Thank you!

Photo source: www.ahs.org