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Current News >>

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July 2011

King County OKs rainwater as sole drinking water source - On Thursday, the county Board of Health approved a measure to allow rainwater captured from roofs as the sole residential water source for single-family homes on septic systems. Under older rules, rainwater could only be used as a supplemental source. Now, single-family homes on septic systems can use rainwater for all uses, albeit under certain conditions. The regulation requires specific roof materials and qualifications for designers of rainwater catchment systems. Users must also install filtration and disinfection systems. Cisterns must be able to accommodate enough storage to last through typically dry summers. >> more

Gutter contractors find rainwater harvesting systems to help turn a profit-Last year Tucson, Ariz., became the first U.S. city to require rainwater harvesting (RWH) for all new commercial developments. Yet Andy Lindus, sales and marketing director for Lindus Construction/Midwest LeafGuard in Baldwin, Wis., reports some of his commercial clients are recognizing the benefits of RWH even without a government mandate. “RWH systems are appealing to its commercial customers who are looking for LEED credits,” Lindus explains, speaking of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program sponsored by the U.S. Green Building Council. “Recently, we installed two rainwater harvesting units capable of holding 3,000 gallons of water for a large agribusiness corporation, helping them get the credits they needed.” >> more

Atlanta potable rainwater ordinance a step closer to passage - Mary Stouffer once hated rainy days. They flooded her Virginia-Highland basement and created havoc. Rain works for her now. Rainy days are good days. Stouffer is one of the few people in metro Atlanta who harvests rainwater for drinking and cooking. She's a reason the Atlanta City Council will hold a public hearing Thursday seeking feedback for a permit process that would enable any of its 100,000-plus water customers to seek this natural alternative. >> more

Harvest your own rainwater to drink? King County board considers it - The King County Board of Health will consider letting homeowners harvest rainwater as their only source of drinking water, in a move to accommodate environmentalists and people who want to live off the grid. Like homeowners statewide, King County residents are currently allowed to catch rainwater in barrels and cisterns to water yards and flush toilets. Homeowners in Seattle and unincorporated King County also are allowed to use the water for drinking, but only as a supplemental source. >> more

Amid drought, companies tout bottled rainwater - Earlier this month , in a sprawling warehouse that once served as a shrimp farm, partners in Agana Rain Water flipped the switch on a conveyor belt that fills half-liter bottles with rainwater collected from the roof. Theirs is one of at least three companies that capture rainwater in scorched Central Texas. A fourth company, based in Austin, ships in bottled rainwater from Oregon for distribution. >> more

Binghamton University preparing to use rainwater harvesting - In an effort to go green and save money, the ITC complex at Binghamton University will soon be harvesting its own rain water. Once the project is complete the 50,000 gallon tanks will be sitting in below ground. And because the ITC complex will basically be reusing its own water, this is going to amount to significant savings each month on their water bill. >> more

Under Colorado law, rainfall can be legally diverted - Many people believe that collecting rainfall in Colorado is illegal. But that is like saying that diverting water from a river or well is illegal. Colorado water law governing the diversion and use of all tributary water, including rainfall, is basically the same regardless of its source. As long as water is diverted in priority, it is legal to divert it and put it to beneficial use, whether it comes from a stream, the ground, or the sky. >> more

Water Rates Simmering Higher

June 2011

Atlanta Proposes Charging for Collected Rainwater - A currently proposed City of Atlanta ordinance would begin to charge residents who use rainwater catchment systems, raising concern among some Atlanta citizens who see the ordinance as taxing the water which falls from the sky. Rain barrels tend to be smaller (most are 55 gallon containers), and used for non-potable tasks such as watering gardens and lawns. Charges only apply [under the proposal] when residents choose to install potable rainwater catchment systems that ultimately discharge wastewater to the City’s sewage system. >> more

Could water labels be next? - In the next few years, if trends continue, we are likely to see more labels and more labeling information on a variety of products we use every day. For instance, the Food and Drug Administration recently announced it is going to require menu labeling at restaurants, specifically fast food facilities. Aware that this trend is in the cards, some fast food restaurants have already started posting labels listing calories and other information in their locations. >> more

Farmers produce more food with shift to water harvesting - Before 54-year-old Samuel Maingi, a farmer from Mwala in Eastern Province, began rain water harvesting, he used to get one harvest of horticultural crops a year. Now, he gets three or more consistent harvests each year, and earns up to five times what he used to. After learning about rain water harvesting from Ministry of Agriculture technicians he invested about Sh113,000 to dig up a pond that would hold 150,000 litres, line it with polythene, and create furrows for trapping road water run-off and rainfall. It took him a month to build the pond. >> more

Population growth stirs worries about stress on region's water supply- When Colin Cavill began planning the 325-unit Enso Atlanta apartments near Grant Park three years ago, water was at the top of his mind. Colin Cavill focused on water conservation when he developed the Enso Atlanta apartments in Grant Park, which, among other things, has a saltwater pool and a cistern for rainwater harvesting that holds over 76,000 gallons. >> more

Water Rates Up Around the Country

May 2011

Rainwater harvesting bill don't make it into law - House Rules Committee Chair Jerry Weiers of Glendale held Senate Bill 1522 for weeks until it died, even though it was amended from creating a new category of water to just creating a study committee. The bill's sponsor was Senate Majority Whip Steve Pierce, R-Prescott. >> more

Cascadia Green Building Council urges re-examination of water use in commercial buildings - There’s a double-whammy about to rain down on Canada’s construction industry. Ongoing urban growth is placing greater demands on water/wastewater systems built a century ago and that infrastructure is in need of major replacement or rehabilitation. address what it calls a growing North American crisis, the Cascadia Green Building Council has released a 128-page report, Toward Net Zero Water: Best Management Practices for Decentralized Sourcing and Treatment. >> more >> Copy of Report

Water Rates Heating Up

April 2011

Buildings are taking it to the extreme by going off the water grid - In one of Seattle's most urban neighbourhoods, a small elementary school is trying to wean itself off the city's water grid.The classroom toilet composts and treats waste on site rather than flushing it into city sewer pipes. Water washed down sinks doesn't flow into storm drains but recirculates to a four-metre-high wall filled with plants, which will eventually soak it all up. For now, excess flows through the wall. Designed to be self-sustaining in the energy, water and waste use, the school's new science building collects rainwater in cisterns. A plant-covered roof slows stormwater run-off, which can carry contaminants into rivers and streams. The building is set up to treat grey water to drinking standards, but it is still drawing water from the city water supply because of public health regulations. >> more

Large-scale rainwater harvesting: Is it worthwhile? - Personal rainwater harvesting uses a home's roof gutters and downspouts to channel rainwater to a collection tank. The collected water is typically used for landscaping and significant conservation is achieved. Large-scale rainwater harvesting (LSRH) captures precipitation before about 97 percent of it is lost through either evaporation or transpiration by vegetation, or it runs off into streams. The premise is that rainwater captured before it collects into a stream is neither groundwater nor surface water and would not impinge on water rights of other parties. Rainwater harvesting on a large scale is a proven practice worldwide. It will work here too, but the questions are at what cost, with what environmental effects, and which methods would work best. >> more

Firefighter who slashed station costs by €50,000 gets Green award - A firefighter has been honoured for creating the world's first zero-carbon fire station. Neil McCabe picked up a coveted Green Award for his plan which is now saving Dublin City Fire Brigade €50,000 a year through lower energy and fuel bills. Fire tenders at Kilbarrack fire station now use water collected through a rainwater harvesting system, reducing their water consumption by 14,000 litres a week, while the fire engines now run on a diesel/biofuel mix. >> more

Bill proposes study of rainwater harvesting’s potential in Arizona - When rain hits the roof of Greg Peterson's home, almost half flows directly into a giant cistern to be used to water his garden and most of the rest goes into an underground pipe carrying it to his fruit trees. What remains pours onto trees placed strategically beneath the eaves. Sen. Steve Pierce, R-Prescott, authored a bill calling for a committee to study the impact of large-scale rainwater harvesting on current water sources, including the aquifers and surface water, as well as the environment. SB 1522 involves what it calls macro-rainwater harvesting, which rather than collecting water from the roofs of homes would involve large projects to collect rainfall. >> more

Exploring the Feasibility of Rainwater Harvesting in Southern California - Following the evolution of municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) permitting in California reveals the growing number of regions within the state that currently or are soon to face mandated “retain/reuse” requirements as part of any future development or redevelopment project. The retain/reuse aspect is interpreted in most instances to be satisfied by management approaches such as infiltration (groundwater recharge), evapotranspiration, and rainwater harvesting. Because infiltration is, in many instances, either not possible or not advisable, by default the designer is left with implementation of rainwater harvesting. >> more

Water Rates Continue Upward Flow

March 2011

Rainwater harvesting: If you don’t install it, BWSSB will - Get ready to install the rainwater harvesting (RWH) structures in your house before the year end, or the BWSSB will do it and charge you on your water bill. The BWSSB Bill having been passed in the Assembly and the Council, the government had to decide on a deadline to enforce the water conservation measure. With rumours of December 2011 being set as deadline, BWSSB has gone a step further and decided to install the RWH structure in buildings in the City and charge the property owners. >> more

April showers bring needed water - Harvest It - April showers bring May flowers. They also bring valuable water that can be harvested for infiltrating into soil for plants or temporarily stored for later use in place of being directed down a storm drain. Water is an important, but limited natural resource. As greater demands are placed on freshwater supplies, it will not be sustainable to continue to use water treated to high drinking water standards for landscape uses. Alternative water sources will continue to be used more for non-potable uses like plant irrigation. Rainwater is an alternative water supply and the simplest use of collected rainwater is for plant irrigation. >> more

Rainwater Wins Drinking Water Competition- For the first time since 2004, the top five tap water winners at the annual Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting were towns and cities in the United States. Daytona Beach, FL was indisputably rated the best tasting water in the world, a title they also won in 2005. A pair of California waters – Desert Hot Springs and Santa Ana – won second and third respectively. Desert Hot Springs has won two golds in the past. Oxford, MI and Kent, Ohio round out the list. Rain water was the big surprise entry and two rain waters won first and fifth in the purified water category. Texan Independence Water from League City, TX [ARCSA member SparkleTap] won best purified for their harvested rain water; their sister water, Virginia Natural from Charlottesville [ARCSA member RMS], won fifth. Bonnie from Pittsburgh was delighted at the win. "It's the best water I've ever tasted," she said. "It is clean and has none of that after taste that most waters have." >> more

Harvesting Rainwater ... a Win-Win Deal!- Water harvesting isn’t a new idea. For centuries, it has been relied upon to supply water for households and other uses. As far back as Roman times, large cisterns were built to hold rainwater. In fact, under the city of Rome an enormous cistern still exists. In the U.S., one of the earliest water harvesting systems can be seen at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. Jefferson was interested in learning how to “shelter oneself effectively and economically from the weather,” so he designed and installed extensive gutters and four rainwater cisterns to contain 15,000 gallons of water. He used the harvested water in his home for drinking, brewing ale and watering the surrounding gardens. >> more

Water Matters (BUILDERnews) - It’s becoming increasingly important to be more innovative with water, including finding more ways to maximize the water that is available. For these reasons, waterefficiency-based initiatives are being introduced at a faster pace than ever before and are anticipated to eventually bring about significant changes in the way projects are planned, designed, and built. Jeffrey Dinkle, president of Atlanta-based Eco Custom Homes, says we can expect an increasing number of water-related ordinances and incentives as water shortages become more of a critical issue. >> more

Irrigation Innovations - Rainwater is an increasingly popular irrigation source- Over the years, I've been told by many turf care professionals - including those with the latest in high-tech irrigation systems - that while their irrigation systems are indispensable tools, there's still no substitute for natural rainfall. With municipal water prices soaring and irrigation restrictions in place in many cities, rainfall is now more valuable than ever. So, maybe it's not surprising that irrigating with rainfall is becoming a more popular approach. >> more

Can rainwater capture help quench California's thirst? - When it comes to water management, California Assemblyman Jose Solorio focuses on three C's: capture, conservation and conveyance. Of those, the state has been most successful with conservation, Solorio says, but it hasn't been nearly as adept at capturing rain and snowfall and conveying it to where it needs to be.In an effort to reduce California's demand on limited drinking-water supplies and to minimize the amount of polluted storm water that flows into the ocean, Solorio has written AB 275, also known as the Rainwater Capture Act of 2011. Introduced last week, the bill would authorize property owners to install different types of rainwater-capture devices, including rain barrels that could provide water for outdoor gardens and other systems that would allow captured water to be used indoors for non-potable uses, such as toilet flushing. >> more >> Regulations and Statues

New rainwater-harvesting bill could be the answer to the Prescott area's water problems - Groundbreaking legislation that could hold the answer to water supply problems across Arizona gained Senate approval Wednesday and now goes to the House of Representatives. Senate Bill 1522 seeks a major change in Arizona water law, creating a new fourth type of water called harvested rainwater. Sen. Steve Pierce of rural Prescott is sponsoring the bill, while representatives Andy Tobin of Paulden and Karen Fann of Prescott are co-sponsors. >> more>> Regulations and Statues

India's NSCC takes up rainwater harvesting as a mission - The National Society for Clean Cities (NSCC) is taking up the issue of Rainwater Water Harvesting as a mission so that considerable number of housing societies implement it before the onset of the monsoons this year. flushing. >> more

Councilors want review of regional rainwater policy - Rain water collection from houses and buildings is of course much more about resilience and sustainability, then about immediate dollar savings. Resilience means the ability to harvest rain after a major disruption such as occurred in the devastating Christchurch earthquake. Sustainability also means water conservation, reduced runoff and pressure on storm water systems with less pollution into our harbours and coastal waters. In a drought, tanks would be a way of catching a short downpour which would not show up in rivers.>> more

Skyrocketing water bills mystify, anger residents - Residents throughout Atlanta are outraged by hundreds, even thousands of dollars in monthly spikes in their water bills, and have questioned the legitimacy. While similar complaints about huge water bill spikes have popped up in Cleveland, Ohio; Charlotte, North Carolina; Tampa, Florida; and Brockton, Massachusetts; it appears that the issue has lasted the longest in Atlanta. >> more

See how Top 50 Cities Compare

Rates Climb

February 2011

Rainwater to Compete in International Drinking Water Competition - On Saturday, February 26, more than one hundred bottled waters from around the globe will compete at the award-winning Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting competition. Held in the historic spa town of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, it is the largest water tasting competition in the world. This year six of the entries will be bottled rainwater sponsored by the 501(c)(3) nonprofit American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association (ARCSA - www.arcsa.org). >> more

Rainwater harvesting can lower costs - The Jan. 28 Daily Sun editorial makes it sound like commercial projects will cost even more to build if the proposal that emerged from the Rainwater Stakeholders group is adopted as Flagstaff's official policy. The proposal would require that commercial projects be landscaped with native plants, or be built with a rainwater harvesting and/or graywater system so that potable water is not needed to water non-native plants. >> more

City's first net-zero home opens - It has rain-collection system, solar panels, super insulation - The solar panels, along with airtight insulation and a massive 30,000-gallon rainwater-collection system, helped the house attain the city's first “net-zero” home certification, a designation that means it uses no more energy than it feeds back into the local power grid. The house also features a rainwater-harvesting system, which funnels water into underground pipes and stores it in a large tank. Before flowing indoors, the water is filtered through ultraviolet light. The system allows for a continuous supply of water, even under drought conditions, Scott said. >> more

Water Rates Continue Climb

January 2011

UA Behind Community Water Conservation Project - The pilot program will help local homeowners install water-harvesting equipment in exchange for data collection and a donation to local environmental projects. The program, called Conserve to Enhance, or C2E, plans to offer subsidies to help a number of local homeowners install rainwater-harvesting equipment, including 2,400-gallon cisterns. Those subsidies will range from $500 to $1,000. >> more

Central Florida Zoo and PNC Foundation Break Ground for New Cistern Rainwater Collection System -The Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens, with the help of the PNC Foundation, held a ground-breaking ceremony today marking the construction of a new cistern rainwater collection system. This eight tank, environmentally friendly system will be located at the Zoo on the east side of the Wayne Densch Discovery Center and will collect and store up to 2,400 gallons of rainwater that will be used for irrigation and general watering needs at the Zoo. Completion of the project is scheduled for March 2011. >> more

Methods of Rainwater Harvesting - A good, long article on components of a Rainwater Harvesting Systems including filtration options. >> more

Environmental summit takes aim at water waste - The best way to make the best use of water is pretty simple: cut down on what drains senselessly away, and do it one drop at a time. Advocates insist that small efforts — things like replacing showerheads or toilets, or using rain barrels to collect water for washing cars and watering gardens, or watering only when the yard and flowerbeds are truly thirsty — can add up to big impacts if enough people do them.>> more

A New Old Water Source - It is a simple technology. Rain can be captured from rooftops in a simple rain barrel or in a complex cistern system holding many thousand gallons of water. The revival of rainwater harvesting in the US began in the 1990s, driven by two movements. The US Clean Water Act, first enacted in 1972, created regulations to clean up the rivers and lakes throughout the country. Starting in 1990, the EPA began requiring municipalities to obtain permits to prevent harmful pollutants from being washed or dumped into stormwater before being discharged into waterbodies. Cities were also required to develop stormwater management programs. >> more

Rainwater Harvesting by the Book - In many parts of the country, 2010 wrapped up under gray days and record rain and snow totals. Here in California, our cloudy skies unleashed enough water to restock our Sierra snowpack and fill our reservoirs. As I traversed city streets and rural roads the last few weeks, dodging puddles and ducking under an assortment of umbrellas and raincoats, I couldn’t help but think about all that rainwater jettisoned down drains and gutters and flowing helplessly out to sea. And I began to wonder, again, why rainwater harvesting is not more widespread—especially in arid parts of the country like the Southwest and southern California. >> more

Richardson weighs plan for rainwater-irrigation systems - It could soon be far easier to use rainwater for irrigation in Richardson. City officials have crafted a proposal that would permit rainwater harvesting systems and allow for their installation with a city permit. The City Council will review and discuss the proposal at its work session Monday. "We want to encourage this for many reasons, but we want it done in a responsible manner so it doesn't detract from the neighborhoods," said Rick Wilder, chairman of the city's Environmental Advisory Commission. >> more

New Year, New Rate Increases

Littleville, Tennessee water rates to nearly double

Canso, Canada eyes 78% water-rate hike

Orange, California water rates could go up 59% over 4 years

Water Department to add 98 employees, water rates set to increase 40%

Louisiana's Westwego City Council, mayor butt heads over 39% water rate increase

Platteville Water and Sewer Utility customers will increase an average of 38% over next two years

Missouri's Altoona approves 35% water rate increase

South Pasadena, California's water rate by 30%

Northern Kentucky Water District customers’ rates will increase about 25%

Central City, Colorado : Water meters going in for residences, water rates to go up by 20%

Iowa's Altoona City Council approved 20% increase

North Chicago water rate increase of as much as 15%

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