Drought conditions across the state of Texas have declined in the early parts of the 2014 summer with rains in West Texas through Dallas/Ft. Worth. In Abilene, area lakes and other water sources have risen due to the increase in rainfall. Rains have changed the outlook for many in our region, and led to local farmers to incorporate water harvesting in the Texas drought as another means of water conservation.
Water harvesting is the use of drains, gutters, and containers to save runoff water from homes, buildings and other structures. Gutters take runoff water from roofs and drain it out to areas away from the structure itself to prevent flooding and pooling of water. Water harvesting drains water from gutters to storage containers for later use. There are many types of use for water conserved using rainwater harvesting including gardening, landscape, wildlife and livestock use, and even in-home use. Water filtration devices are needed for water that is harvested for drinking by humans including purifiers.
Rain harvesting doesn’t require a lot of technical knowledge to set up, but should be done by a professional in securing gutters, drains, and storage containers to hold the rainwater runoff. Storage containers are the one area where the container is discretionary to the user. Some people use plastic storage bins from Walmart or similar store. Gutters or drains can filter water to buckets or storage bins of any size to contain runoff water for later use. Many gardeners and small farmers use this type of conservation for water use to save water utility costs as well as recycling unused water from rains. The amount of water that can be harvested from rainwater runoff depends on a few factors. Supply in gallons equals inches of rainfall multiplied by 0.623 multiplied by catchment area in square feet multiplied by the runoff coefficient.
For the most efficient use of rainwater harvesting, 100 gallon or larger barrels can be employed in strategic locations around a structure or home. Gardeners and small farmers are particularly fond of 150 gallon barrels, which come in handy in Abilene and West Texas when hard rains come. Our area is known for experiencing sudden waves of heavy rainfall, dropping a deluge of water at one time. Rainfalls in late May and early June of this year saw some areas of Abilene and the Big Country have sudden periods of excessive rains, causing flooding in areas of town. Smaller storage barrels will overflow very quickly for rainwater harvesters who don’t utilize large enough barrels for water conservation. Barrels allow for longer use of water harvesting as well as adequate storage for periods of significant rainfall, whether heavy rains in a short period of time or longer periods of continued rainfall for days on end.
Despite recent rains, Texas continues to suffer from years of insufficient rainfall over portions of the state, particularly Abilene and West Texas. Water conservation remains a priority for residents of our area and state. Water harvesting in the Texas drought provides opportunities for local conservation of water to succeed, as well as make a positive impact on utility use be our community members.