Rain Water Collection – Why Do They Make It So Difficult?

When water supplies in drought areas are scarce, people resort to simple strategies to conserve water. One way is to collect the rain water that hits your house and property and prevent it from getting away. This does not help the creek beds and vegetation or the normal nutrient sediment erosion find its way into the deltas, but it does help those people in urban and suburban areas deal with the drought. It's a catch-22, as you want to help the environment, but you also want to protect water supplies so that you have the water you need during several courses periods.

Collecting rainwater sounds pretty simple does not it? It also makes sense that quite a bit of water runs off your roof down through your rain gutters. Why are not you collecting all of it? Why have not homes been built to collect this water, why do they have drainage systems off the property into this gutters and down the street into storm drains? It's true that during a real big downpour you may not have a large enough collection device to harvest all that rainwater, but maybe you should for future use in subsequent months for summertime or between rainstorms during a long drought periods.

Well, I wish it was that simple, but let me tell you it is not. You see, we make rainwater collection very difficult in this country, mostly at the city and county levels due to building codes and rules.

We have a problem in many counties. It seems they do not want to allow the permitting of rain water collection. I understand why, but with simple protocols homeowners could collect a good amount of that runoff water. Unmaintained rainwater containers become breeding grounds for mosquitoes if not covered and they start growing algae. So there are problems with this if it's not done properly – and leave it to a homeowner to neglect their responsibilities in the rainwater collection device.

In many counties or cities if you wish to go get a permission to collect rainwater, most do not even have the rules set up to allow you to do it, but they want you to submit your own proposal, and they will review it for you, which could take months. That's pretty silly is not it, I mean a smart person reading online and learning about how to do it properly could probably figure it out. Of course we have lots of laws to protect Darwin Award Winners from themselves these days, therefore they simply do not allow it because they have not put forth any rules yet.

We need a set of rules nationwide, or at least regionally to get this done. Let me tell you little story; I worked with an architect in San Antonio on a rain water collection for airport hangars – that's a lot of surface area – lots of water collection potential – he had a hell of a time convincing planners that it could be done safely and the planners had no basis to judge if his concept was done diligently, by the way it was, I personally worked on the project

So, this is a real problem, WE need to work on simple instructions and distribute this through the nation of BMPs for rain water collection and then make city planning departments, and County planning departments more aware. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think about it in 2015.