On this page, you will find an overview of the two different types of rainwater collection systems that will be installed to the Santa Barbara High's greenhouse, how they work, and why they are beneficial to own and install for your own household. On average, every inch of rainfall on a 1000 square foot roof produces about 600 gallons of rainwater. That's a lot of water you could get if you invested in a rainwater collection system! In arid regions such as Santa Barbara, it only makes sense to take advantage of whatever natural water we get for free, since we are undergoing a serious drought, and we cannot rely on groundwater systems as heavily as we do now. If these drought trends continue, by 2017 Santa Brabara will no longer obtain any amount of water through Lake Cachuma, a reservoir from which we collected more than half our water resources in 2013. Although promoting rainwater irrigation will not end the drought, it will provide a much-needed alternate source of water.
Basic Rainwater Collection System
All rainwater collection systems require a gutter system along the sides of a building's roof. The gutters collect the rain running of the roof before it hits the ground. Under normal circumstances, the water running through the gutters just flushes out into the ground. However, with the application of a rainwater collection system, water that would noramlly just be released onto the ground gets collected by a simple sytem of buckets or barrels that are connected to each other to prevent overflow. If you want to see a simple diagram of a rainwater collection system, click the link on the top right corner of this page.
First Flush Filter
The first flush system is what we'll be using to filter out the smaller pollutants and particles that the filters did not eliminate. This diagram includes the first flush system. The first flush of water that runs through the gutters wash away all the dirt that had previously settled on the roof and gutters. Because of this, the first flush of water is the dirtiest. The first flush system is designed to capture and trap this initial flush of dirty water with the pipe that runs adjacent to the ground and the floating ball that rests inside the pipes. The first flush of dirty water will flow into this vertical pipe. As the vertical pipe fills up, the ball on top floats with it until it caps off at the top. By doing this, the ball seals the pipe that's full of the first flush of dirty water so that it cannot enter the tank, and the next rush of cleaner water will flow overtop the ball and into the containers.
Rainwater Basin System
A cheaper and simpler version of collecting rainwater with large containers is the rainwater basin system. With this system, collection buckets aren't necessary. This system simply diverts the water collected by a house's gutter system so that it is released into a garden. The area that the rainwater gets released into requires mulch, because mulch is very good at absorbing and retaining water. Therefore, instead of the rain washing away down the streets, the mulch soaks up the water and remains moist for a long time after the rain stops falling. If you want to see a simple diagram of a rainwater basin system, click the link on the lower right corner of this page.