This morning, I awoke to the wonderful sound of tree frogs croaking in the forest beside our home. At last spring appears to have truly sprung here on Vancouver Island!
As I sat listening to the frogs doing frog things, my mind began to wander to all of the spring things on my “honey do” list. I was brought back to reality when a rather loud croak occurred from what sounded like inches away from my head. I looked over and to my astonishment a very small, but vocal, tree frog sat perched on the fig tree by our now open patio door. Hmm… one of the items on my list was fixing an errant downspout. Somehow, it felt like there had to be a connection here.
In areas like Vancouver Island, rain is bountiful until the summer heat and then it can be surprisingly dry on our “Wet Coast”. Collecting and reusing rainwater can equal dollars and sense. Having your own natural reservoir can reduce water bills and storm sewer charges, alleviate demand on local water supplies and bypass strict watering schedules.
While planning to build any home, and more particularly one where reliable water supply may be an issue, it is a good idea to look at the logistics of water harvesting. A publication of particular value may be the Rainwater Harvesting Frequently Asked Questions, a project of the Islands Trust Fund. This publication targets an area where water collection has become a heated and urgent topic.
Whether you have a dependable water source or not, rainwater is better for your landscape than treated water as it is rich in nutrients, will reduce fertilizer requirements, and does not contain chemicals.
There are many ready-to-use collection options and rainbarrels available. At one of the recent Home Shows we participated in in the Comox Valley, we were introduced to the RainXchange Rainwater Harvest Systems. It is an intriguing rainwater collection system that integrates discreet, scaleable, and flexible rainwater storage with a circulating/filtering system and water feature. Of course there are also a number of innovative DIY solutions which abound on sites like YouTube. (Some of them are quite amusing!)
Regardless of the option you choose, remember to store your water safely. Be sure that children cannot access your storage vessel, ensure that you filter any debris from getting in and fouling your water, and make sure you screen the intake to prevent mosquito breeding. One final safety note… make sure you have an overflow plan. A 2000 sq. ft. roof generates 1,250 gallons of water for every inch of rainfall! A tiny rainbarrel will overflow in no time!
Speaking of showers, it is time to get Kermit out of the house and back where he belongs! We have a nice rain falling and his friends are calling.