All of the water used on the DRLC grounds is harvested from the sky. This 1,400-gallon plastic storage tank collects rainwater from the roof via raingutters. The tank fills quickly during even a small rainshower, with the overflow filling the landscape basins. The first 30 gallons of rainwater are diverted into the piping below to reduce dust and other contaminants inside the tank. Nearby plants are watered using a garden hose attached to the tank.
This process conserves water and ensures that it gets to where it’s needed, when it’s needed. In Arizona, with an average of 13 inches of precipitation per year, a 2,500 square-foot rooftop can collect about 20,000 gallons of fresh rainwater annually.
Why Harvest Rainwater?
Rainwater harvesting can reduce your water bill. The City of Tucson offers rainwater harvesting rebates on qualifying systems. The city also operates a rainwater harvesting grant/loan program. In addition, individuals may claim a tax credit up to $1,000 for installing a rainwater harvesting system in Arizona.
Perhaps most importantly, rainwater harvesting helps reduce the need for groundwater pumping—which, in the words of water-policy expert Robert Glennon, causes water bodies, wells, and “wetlands to dry up; the ground beneath us to collapse; and fish, wildlife, and trees to die."
How You Can Help
- Harvest your own rainwater. A rainwater harvesting system consists of three basic elements: a collection area, a conveyance system, and storage facilities. The collection area in most cases is the roof. Helpful sources of information include the Watershed Management Group, the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association, the University of Arizona, and the Arizona Department of Water Resources.