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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Rain Water Harvesting; How not to do it in Los Angeles

" Progressive gardeners who haven’t yet bought their barrel are made to feel wasteful and negligent for failing to acquire the latest in an endless series of products designed to save the planet. Thanks to relentless marketing, rain barrels are enjoying a potent dose of moral buzz that is fast turning them into a 21st Century version of the Great Tulip Mania. "

Disclaimer; I appreciate the efforts of those who have tried to create low cost and do-it yourself systems and do not mean to sound mocking. That being said, I think that the proliferation of make-do rain water harvest systems will ultimately create a bad impression on those considering using this technology. Further, the cheap rain barrels promoted by the various officials in Los Angeles are seen more and more often discarded as they do not have the crucial insect netting, an overflow and they are ugly. They look more like industrial vats used for storing chemicals and they are not what the average homeowner would want to see up against their house in Southern California. I would further argue that small cheap rain barrels are not green as they are often thrown away into landfills after a season or two.
As I share a common goal with other activists who want promote this micro-economy ( or mega trend ) I wanted to present this; How NOT to Harvest Rainwater in Los Angeles.

Example #1

This is a well crafted system with a solid block foundation, high quality plumbing fittings. My issue is that if this were placed on the side of a Malibu home the neighbors would at the least not be inspired to do a rain water harvesting project in their own yard. In fact, they probably would file a complaint. In certain parts, people might mistake it for a still making Moonshine. It is just not aesthetically pleasing.

This is contestant number two.  This tilting, industrial looking contraption is placed right next to the entry sidewalk.Perhaps eventually the bushes will grow around it.

Example 3

Plastic bottle downspout leads to rain barrel. Just...ick.

The average small home in L.A. yields 8,000 gallons, minimum, per year of rain water. A system should start at one thousand gallons, be designed to be aesthetically pleasing and be the primary source of irrigation water for the landscaping. A float valve is used to keep enough water in the tank(s) between rains to allow them to be used year-round with a water conserving irrigation design.
1,100 Gallon cistern in El Cajon, Ca

620 Gallon Slim Tank, Orange, CA

 Nothing is without its trial and errors.  
If the drought continues, the costs of these systems will increase dramatically.

Rain water harvest systems we have installed can be viewed here and are now located in Orange, Yorba Linda, Tustin, Anaheim, La Canada Flintridge, Huntington Beach, Costa Mesa, Los Angeles, North San Diego, Hollywood, Fountain Valley and Newport Beach and MORE! We are fully licensed for seamless gutter work. Rainwater harvesting locations recently in La Mesa, National City, Encinitas, Escondido, Carslbad, Hollywood, Temecula, Point Loma and MORE.

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