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Always Include Both Passive and Active Rainwater Harvesting

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Every rainwater harvesting system should incorporate both both passive and active. Most active systems do due to overflow design requirements. However, system design should start with passive and not just end with it.

Will's rainwater catchment system is a great example of this. His completed system comprises both an active and several passive rainwater catchment systems. Uniquely to this design is that the active system can also be used passively.

The house is approximately 1,610 square feet and could possibly capture about 12,000 gallons a year in total (i.e. .623 x 1,610 x 12 inches. Canales typically capture about 75% off a flat roof of the total runoff, or approximately 9,000 gallons a year. In this case, the canales are located on different sides of his existing houses with muture landscaping and small city lot.

Consequently, trenching around the house to install 1 or 2 below ground active rainwater catchment tanks would have been cost prohibitive. A far better design was to use the water in the existing beds near the existing canales. Passive drainage pipes with attractive rain chains and clay pots were used on the most visable sides of his house (i.e. the roof and the rear patio), while on the very back side of the house downspouts feed directly into a passive irrigation system.

Every system and every site is different; however, passive should always be included in every design if at all possible.  To see more details of this site or visit other HarvestH2o projects, visit Will's house.

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