Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Rain Harvesting

New Orleans Bamboo, LLC
3128 DeSoto St
New Orleans, LA 70119
Phone 504 486 0052    Fax 504 486 0053

Four Reasons to Install Rain Barrels or a Rainwater Catchment System:

·                     Grow healthier plants.
o   Rainwater has no chlorine or fluoride.
o   Rainwater is normally oxygenated and has a slightly acidic pH, which helps plants absorb nutrients.
o   Many people report that plants watered with rainwater look greener and healthier.  Reporter Erin Covert of The Dallas Morning News interviewed several rain harvesters in Dallas.  Greg Street claims that “the plants really do seem to like the rainwater better than the hose.”  Greg Whitfield, who builds and installs rainwater catchment systems in Dallas calls attention to the green appearance of the city after recent rains:  “Look around at how green everything is now with the recent rains.  You could water every day with the city water and never get your plants that green” (“Collecting Rainwater for Better Plants,” 20 July 2007.  www.dallasnews.com).  Rainwater harvesters in New Orleans agree.

·                     Save money on your water bill.
o   A 20’ x 20’ garden requires on average 600 gallons of water per week (urbangardensolutions.com).  The Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans charges $3.59 per 1,000 gallons for the first 3,000 gallons of water used per month and $6.31 per 1,000 gallons for the next 17,000 gallons.  The sewerage charge of $5.37 per 1.000 gallons is calculated on 85% of metered water consumption, allowing for 15% of water use for watering gardens and lawns.  Ten 60-gallon rain barrels or a 600-gallon cistern would provide enough water for the 20’ x 20’ garden most of the time in New Orleans, saving you the cost of 2,400 gallons of water a month (at least $8.62 if you only use 3,000 gallons a month), plus the sewerage charge (approximately $8.20) for a total of at least $16.00 per month. 

·                     Help minimize street flooding, which is a serious problem in New Orleans.  Also save energy by reducing the amount of water the Sewer and Water Board has to pump around.  A hundred years ago, many New Orleanians collected rainwater in cisterns for home use.  Now we rely on the city for our water supply and let the rainwater run into storm drains.  In addition, the increase in the amount of land covered by buildings and pavement results in less rainwater being absorbed by the soil and plants and more run-off and often flooding.  One of the guidelines established by The United States Green Building Council at a charrette on Gulf Coast Reconstruction in November 2005 is to “provide for passive survivability,” which means to design buildings to be livable in case of disasters.  In terms of water systems, they recommend installing emergency water systems that can be used for landscape watering during normal times and, during emergencies, provide water for use in the home.  The Council points out that strategies for passive survivability can reduce cost and “encourage the use of vernacular architecture, which provides unique character to places like New Orleans” (“Celebrating the Rich History of New Orelans Through Commitment to a Sustainable Future” November 9-11, 2005. www.usgbc.org).  According to the local organization, Go Green NOLA, New Orleans’ new Master Plan “identifies stormwater management as an integral goal to achieve resilience. . . .  The City Planning Commission is currently re-writing the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO), which regulates land use on private property in the city.”  Go Green NOLA points out that “the new CZO provides an opportunity to set new property development standards to reduce stormwater runoff from private property through infiltration and retention techniques,” and recommends three steps New Orleans residents can take to reduce storm runoff:  “use pervious paving,” “plant a rain garden,” and “harvest rainwater.”  

·                     Help minimize pollution from stormwater draining into waterways.  Rainwater picks up pollutants and debris from the streets, such as pet waste, motor oil, and litter, that end up in the lake.  Collecting rainwater keeps it clean.  Most cisterns have a “first flush” filter and a debris filter to keep out of the barrel pollutants the rain may wash from the atmosphere and from the roof.  The remaining water is very clean. 

New Orleans Bamboo Offers Several Options for Catching and Storing Rainwater:

·                     The Rainwater Hog, a slender cistern for tight places,
·                     Recycled Olive barrels,
·                     New barrels ranging in size from 50 – 300 gallons,
·                     Rainwater Pillows®, which easily fit under a raised house,
·                     Custom cisterns any size.