Good News for Seattle Rainwater Collection Community

The Space Needle appears upside down in raindrops on the window of a car in January. (Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times)
The Space Needle appears upside down in raindrops on the window of a car in January. (Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times)

The Seattle Times reports, “Between the beginning of December and Thursday night, a total of 22.78 inches of rain fell at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, the official climate station for Seattle. The winter months have also been warmer than usual in Seattle, with no measurable snow and higher than average temperatures in December and February.”

If El Niño predictions of a warmer wetter Spring are correct, rainwater harvesters in Seattle can expect their cisterns to remain at high levels leading into summer.

Our neighbors to the South in California have seen increased rainfall this winter, but are already hoping for a wetter Spring. “Sacramento is in the peak of it’s rainy season, but there is no substantial rain in the forecast. The Sierra snowpack has fallen below normal levels for this time of year.” reported by the Sacramento Bee. Jan Null, a private consultant with Golden Weather Services explains, “This year’s winter is yet another reminder that El Niños are unpredictable and any long-range weather forecast is suspect. The nexus of warm water in the Pacific is farther West than usual this year. That is a factor in determining where the rainfall will fall.”

According to federal water planners, surface and groundwater supplies available now will not meet water demands in the future. In order to meet the demand, we must conserve water and develop alternative supplies now. The American Rainwater Catchment Association (ARCSA) advocates that one solution is rainwater collection, which captures, diverts, stores, uses, and returns water to the aquifers by infiltration. Rainwater can be used for irrigation, and livestock watering. If properly filtered it is a great source for laundry and toilette facility. Captured rainwater, after being properly treated can be used for drinking, cooking, and cleaning.

RainBank Rainwater Systems has been part of this conservation movement for more than 15 years, with designs and installs throughout the Pacific Northwest for commercial and residential systems. We are the Northwest Master Dealer for Contain Water Tanks Inc. and dealer of Wisy products. RainBank offers dealership opportunities for those who are wanting to expand their business in water conservation and rainwater collection. RainBank Rainwater Systems offers ARCSA accredited system designs, permitting, in house engineering, licensed plumbers, and a progressive approach.

Use the form below to contact us about becoming a dealer.

Collecting Drinking Water in Seattle

fountain-752450_640We receive many requests from Seattle and King County residents about whether they can collect water for drinking, and if so, how does the process work?

Here are some of our favorite blog posts about collecting drinking water in Seattle:


You can have a potable rainwater collection system designed by an engineer, licensed in the state of Washington with experience in RWC, or an ARCSA (American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association) accredited professional. READ MORE

In January 2011, King County Department of Health adopted rainwater collection for potable use for detached single-family dwellings. READ MORE

In October 2009 Washington State revised its water rights laws to allow rainwater collection. King County (Seattle) has adopted rainwater collection for potable use in single-family dwellings, as well. READ MORE

When all is said and done, once you’ve decided to add rainwater collection to your new or existing dwelling, it’s important that you work with an accredited professional with the knowledge and resources to design and build a system that will meet your water needs for many years.

Rainwater Harvesting Systems For Irrigation

In my blog posts I often neglect to discuss rainwater collection for irrigation demands, even though the most common use of rainwater collection is for non potable use.

While my focus is often on potable whole house usage for residential systems and irrigation as a means of infiltration for commercial applications, the benefits of rainwater collection for both potable and non-potable demand have positive effects for both applications.

Irrigation demands for both commercial and residential can effectively be supplied by collected rainwater. All new construction in Washington State is required to infiltrate runoff on site. This mandate is intended to reduce runoff that increases urban flooding and pollution. Impervious surfaces, such as roads and parking lots, typically have oils, greases, and heavy metals. Yards often contain fertilizers, chemicals, and animal waste – all of which can be carried off to our streams, rivers, and lakes. Some of these are a source of drinking water in Seattle and other cities. Groundwater recharge is reduced as urban populations grow. Land development dramatically affects groundwater recharge with increased impervious surfaces. A rainwater harvesting system allows more opportunity to infiltrate the soil and recharge groundwater supplies.

roof gutter rainBy capturing roof runoff and storing it for use in irrigation, a developer can infiltrate this runoff on site and meet the requirements set forth by the city and state. Stormwater runoff is decreased; infiltration is increased, while saving costs from reduced demands on city water.

Rainwater is relatively clean as it falls on our roof. If properly collected and stored, very little filtration is needed, resulting in a clean, viable source of water for irrigation with less threat to our environment. Following conservative landscaping methods using swales, rain gardens, drought tolerant plantings, and permeable surfaces, irrigation demands can be reduced – allowing for a cost effective means of irrigation. Even more cost savings can be achieved by including toilet flushing in the rainwater system design.

Both commercial and residential developers can benefit from rainwater harvesting systems intended for irrigation. Cost savings, water quality, and environmental protection are all positive outcomes for the developer and community. Being known in the community as a business or residence that cares about our environment and its resources is often admired by customers and friends. Future generations need for us to practice conservation now to ensure safe, sustainable water sources.  Rainwater collection can be part of this commitment.