Will President Obama Support Rainwater Harvesting Petition?

water droplets on leavesOn November 17, at its national conference in Phoenix, Arizona, ARCSA (the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association) will launch a petition as an appeal to President Obama, in support of rainwater harvesting. After the initial launch, an email link will be distributed to supporters who want to sign the petition. The original petition email link will be launched via ARCSA’s newsletter, click here to subscribe.  After the petition reaches 150 names, it will be accessible on the Whitehouse.gov “We the People” website.

Once launched, 100,000 names must be collected within 30 days, (December 16, 2014). When the goal is reached, the petition in support of rainwater harvesting will be placed in line for an official response from President Obama.

The petition language is straightforward and concise:


…to stimulate the emerging rainwater-harvesting industry through legislation or executive order, creating new jobs in design, installation, education, R&D, sales, plumbing, landscaping, roofing, monitoring and maintenance, which could propel the U.S. to international leadership, with compounding fiscal benefits.

The many justifications include:

  • Worldwide demand for clean water exceeds supply.
  • Rainwater can help fill the gap and reduce stormwater pollution.
  • One inch of rain is over 600 gallons per 1,000 sq. ft. of roof.
  • Rainwater is a valuable resource that reduces demand on water infrastructure.
  • A new national standard, ARCSA/ASPE/ANSI 63 details safe design & installation.
  • Treated rainwater can easily surpass EPA standards.

We encourage you to click one of the share buttons below to ensure this information is seen by colleagues, friends and family, far and wide.  We want to ensure that this meaningful request gets in front of our President.

SIGN THE PETITION NOW (Please note: signing the petition is a 2 step process.  After you sign, you will be asked to reply to an email to verify your signature.)

Simple Steps for Rainwater System Winterization

Snowy_street_in_downtown_SeattleWith the cold weather upon us, many rainwater systems need to be winterized.

Most whole house use rainwater collection systems are frost protected when installed, due to their use in the winter months. But, if your rainwater system is used for irrigation only, or if you have a simple rain barrel system, winterization is an important maintenance task that should be addressed before the cold weather hits. Broken pipes can lead to draining your cistern empty, or possible damage your pressure pump. Costly repairs or replacement of components can be avoided with little planning.

Be sure your pipes are not exposed to the weather by insulating, or draining. If draining, be sure to leave the valves open afterward. You can temporarily cover pipes with straw or hay if necessary.

Drain the pump of all water – including what is in the expansion tank, leaving this valve open, too.

Be sure to inspect your first flush device “dribbler valve” to be sure it is clear of obstructions so it will operate correctly.

Inspect systems to be sure there are no leaks from cisterns and that your gutter system is clean and ready to collect rain for spring and summer use.

Simple steps can be taken to insure your rainwater collection system will be operational for the next season and that you are collecting water during the winter months.

Snowy Street Downtown Seattle courtesy of Ekaune

Cement Cisterns Collect Urban Rainwater

With limited space in urban areas, cement cisterns are being built beneath homes as a rainwater harvesting solution.

tank linerWith the new “Green Storm Water Infrastructure” or GSI mandate, Seattle based RainBank Rainwater Systems is seeing increased interest in rainwater collection.  But, with limited space on an urban building lot, the storage of rainwater in above ground tanks is not an option when required to mitigate thousands of gallons of roof runoff.

With many new residential construction projects building on small city lots, there is just not enough room for a rain garden. One way to solve this issue is with a cement vault, constructed beneath the house, which stores the captured rain water for potable use.

The average 2,000 square foot roof area will yield over 44,000 gallons of water.  However, a cement vault cistern needs special engineering and considerations. Water weighs approximately 8 lbs per gallon and 1 cubic foot equals approximately 8 gallons. Calculations of weight and sheer need to be engineered for Seattle’s seismic zone. Additional ventilation should be considered along with aeration.

waterproofing tankCement water tanks are not naturally waterproof; cracks in concrete can result years after construction. The use of a liner, whether spray on epoxy, or a poly bag will prevent groundwater from entering the water tank as well as improve water quality.