Rainwater Collection

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El Paso gets about 8" of rain annually. During the stretch of drought for last few years it has been even less. With this scant rainfall is it even worth fitting a rainwater collection system?
1 inch of rain on a 1000 Sq. feet area amounts to about 600 gallons of water.
A large amount of water runs off on the hard surfaces during the rain, carrying with it many pollutants found on the roads and other urban hardscapes.

The rainwater becomes specially precious in our desert climate as the soil and the community water are alkaline. Rainwater normally has slightly acidic pH and is free of salts, minerals or disinfectants like chlorine & chloramine present in the community water supply. With these properties the rainwater allows plants to absorb nutrients more efficiently. It also reduces the soil alkalinity and possibly helps wash down some contaminants in the soil.
So yes, it is well worth harvesting the water in this desert climate and slowing down the runoff at least from our homes. Harvested water is used mostly for the garden. It is not potable as it carries with it dust and small debris from the roof and gutters.
We don’t realize but an amazing amount of water is collected off the roof in just 15-30 minutes of good rainfall.

Rainwater collecting system

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The set up is extremely easy and does not need a professional to install the system.

You will need:

  • Rain Barrel
  • Rain Gutters
  • Brackets and screws, end caps, for the rain gutter
  • Silicon glue to join the gutters
  • Down sprout or Rain Chain
  • Down sprout adaptor
  • Rain Chain adaptor if using rain chain

Most supplies including rain barrel are available at the home improvement stores. In El Paso, both Lowe’s and Home depot carry the supplies.

  • Attach rain gutters to roof fascia: Brackets are attached to the roof fascia and the rain gutters then simply rest on the brackets. Keep in mind to attach one end of the gutters at-least an inch higher than the other for every 20 ft of length to allow the water to flow towards the rain barrel. To help achieve the right slope a string could fastened between two nails on the fascia. Hammer in two small nails 20 ft apart (length of 2 gutters) with one nail hammered at a higher level than the other. Tie a string between the two. Brackets can then be installed along the string.