HarvestH2o LLC in the Santa Fe, New Mexico area designs, installs and maintains passive and active rainwater catchment systems, irrigation systems, low-water use landscapes, and solar thermal systems. Below are a small sampling of some of the projects we have designed or installed.
In Northern New Mexico, slow wells are becoming increasingly common. These wells, for whatever reason are not producing as they did in the past; going from 6-10 gallons a minute down to sometimes less than 1 gallon a minute. A cistern is a great solution to this problem. >> more
It was such a thrill to go out to my gauge this past weekend and see that my tanks are measuring 100% full..!! I can't believe my/our luck with the storms of last week. Totally satisfying, every time I turn on a spigot... Thanks so much again to you and Aydin for the good work. And many thanks, too, for the very complete, clear handbook. Really great to have and wonderful value added.
Thanks very much, Doug, Aydin and Jud... I really appreciate the caring, excellent service. - Deborah in Eldorado.
Thank you too for your professional and thorough approach to this job. I noticed even the carefully placed stones under the canales. Well Done!! - Lee in Eldorado
Whether it is a single small rainbarrel or a small runoff project we are happy to provide you advise, assistance or install. Most of our customers start small and grow. See several examples of these small, but effective systems.
Fred's project - Fred lives on the end of a lovely cul de sac in an old downtown Santa Fe neighborhood. Unfortunately it is truly the house at the end of the street and the lowest house on the street. During heavy rainstorms runoff would flood his yard almost into his house. Problem solved by updating his current stormwater bypass, grading the drive and installing a new storm drain and conveyance system to bypass his patio and draining the water into his existing catch basin.
Libby's project - A new outdoor horse arena right next to an outdoor existing arena, meant the new structure would flood the old arena unless something was done. >> more
In addition to design and installation services, we offer consulting services to oversee a project, either a homeowner or a contractor built system. Prevention of mistakes and errors typically more than pays for the services rendered.
Additionally, we offer design services directly to homeowers, installers or architects. The design services range from sizing of gutters and cistern sizing to complete system CAD drawings.
We offer a wide range of service and maintenance contracts. These range from one-time a year inspection to four times a year onsite service and maintenance (i.e. changing filters, cleaning gutters, winterizing the system, turning it on in in the spring, etc.).
We also offer a HealthCheck on existing systems. This check goes through an extensive list of items. We provide you a writeup on how your system is performing and recommendation actions if any.
These services ensure the investment in a rainwater system are working to peak efficiency - saving you time and money.
Please contact us for more information on our maintenance services.
HarvestH2o specializes in consulting, designing, educating and installing small and large residential water conservation systems. The systems can be as simple as installing several large rainbarrels, berms and swales to as complex as designing and managing the installation of a large, whole-house potable water system using exclusively rainwater.
Doug Pushard at HarvestH2o has been designing and installing systems for over a decade; including at his own homes. He was on the Board of Directors of the North American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association - ARCSA - and active in the Northern New Mexico area in water conservation; including being a member of the Semi-Arid Guild and a member of the Santa Fe Water Conservation Committee. Doug lives sustainability in Santa Fe, NM and is currently one of the few ARCSA Accredited Rainwater Professionals in New Mexico.
Several of his installations have been written up in national publications or on the HarvestH2o website. Doug has designed and/or installed dozens of systems in Texas, New Mexico and around the country.
HarvestH2o and SolarH2o work jointly together to conserve water and energy. Contact us if you are interested in either water conservation or solar water heating. Email us or call us at 505-603-5498.
Start where you can and then expand - that would aptly describe Deborah's approach to sustainability. Deborah is gradually greening her house in Eldorado, New Mexico. She has a solar hot water system, has fenced a garden area, upgraded her old aluminum windows, and installed a large rain barrel (i.e. 225 gallon rain barrel). The barrel is fed by a lovely rain-chain and on the out going side attaches to a low-flow soaker hose especially designed for low-pressure applications, like a rain barrel
Deborah wants to eventually install buried cisterns to feed her current garden and plant a few fruit trees. Her plan is to do something every year to reduce her footprint.
A simple, yet beautiful system is what second-home owners Romily and Norman wanted. The site for the tank would be visible from both the street as well as from the main dining room window, so aesthetics was major concern. A system that required little to no maintenance was also a requirement.
The solution - a galvanized free-standing culvert. This great looking, yet simple solution harvests rainwater off the house for plants nearby. It is a passive system with no pumps or moving parts; consequently, attractive and maintenance-free.
The installed culvert is 3 foot in diameter and 8 foot tall and capable of capturing over 400 gallons* of water. A concrete foundation was poured and then a second layer of concrete was poured and the tank installed in this layer of cement; resulting in a system that is extremely solid. The overflow is piped away from the house and is on the backside of the tank so to be completely invisible from inside and outside the house. A tap is located on the bottom of the tank and can be connect to a hose to manually water nearby plants.
In the winter or when they are away the tap can be left open and it drains into the overflow. The top of the tank includes a galvanized lid and a screened basket filter to keep all the debris out of the tank. Total installation time was just a couple of days once all the parts were on site.
The resulting system was quick to install, relatively inexpensive (i.e. more expensive than a plastic tank, but much less expensive than a custom tank), maintenance free, and will provide years and years of free rainwater to be used on their naturally landscaped property.
* Volume of a cylinder is pi * r (radius) squared * height. Multiple this number by 7.48052, which is gallons of water per cubic foot to get volume of water in a cylinder. >> Tank Calculator
Libby and Wyck wanted to build an indoor horse arena in the Eldorado area. The new 7,700 square foot structure would be located adjacent to an existing outdoor arena and meant the new structure might flood the old arena unless something was done to channel the water away from both arenas. Additionally, to reduce the visibility of the new structure over 30 new trees were planted which will require water.
The owners wanted to do the right thing environmentally as well as protect their investment so they decided to install a rainwater catchment system to provide water for the new trees. To ensure little to no water left the property two rock-lined catchment ponds were installed. With the installation of this new water management system little to no rainwater will ever be wasted.
The system consists of:
2 – 1,700 gallon buried tanks with each cistern being doubled vented
2 - 1HP automatic on/off submersible pumps installed in each cistern
Frost-free hydrants, signed with non-potable drinking water warning signs
Each cistern equipped with a tank depth gauge
Downspouts are directly connected to underground conveyance to the tanks
System equipped with manual tank fill capability
Overflow for each cistern to rock-lined catchment ponds
Little of the rain catchment system is visible other than the downspouts running into the adapters going into the ground and the vent pipes and lids of the cisterns. Other than these few visible queues, nothing about the system disturbs the naturally landscaped area surrounding the new arena.
The tanks coupled with the catchment ponds of 25’ x 15 x 2’ are capable of holding nearly 10,000 gallons at full capacity. The rock-lined ponds have no weed barrier so over time the surrounding grasses will fill the basins and these depressions will become part of the surrounding native landscape.
One unique feature about this system is the method whereby the tanks can be filled manually. Auto-filling the tanks was an option, but given the tanks will normally have water (i.e., the roof will harvest more water than the tanks will hold), it was not worth the expense to install an auto-fill system. So instead, hose quick connects were installed in the downspouts on either end of the building. When the depth gauges show the tanks are low, a hose can be snapped into these connections to easily fill the tanks. These connectors were installed two feet off the ground to make them easy to access and due to their location provide much more than the required air gap from the cistern water. Caps were installed over the quick connects to ensure no bugs can access the system via the connectors. This design was very low-cost and leveraged the installed conveyance system to provide a no maintenance auto-fill capability.
This low maintenance system should provide years of water to the
surrounding landscape while keeping almost all the rainwater on the
property so not to contribute to storm runoff (e.g. road erosion, etc.)
Dave's Totally Wireless System
Some systems just do not want to be wired. Dave and Susan's house is a great example. The existing house has a 25 year-old cistern that irrigated his large lot. Once the cistern was repaired and in working order, it became apparent that his irrigation system was never designed properly - one zone fed the entire lot with the highest point being at least 50 feet above the lowest point. Neither Dave or his wife wanted an irrigation controller box located on the house and it was impossible to get one into the garage where the rest of control systems were for the house.
The irrigation system is the controller for the cistern and without it the yard would not be watered on a regular basis and would wilt badly in our summer heat.
Enter a wireless irrigation controller that can be managed remotely. Adding two new zones, for a total of three zones all managed wireless created a solution that worked for Dave and Susan.
The irrigation controller is tied to a motor relay controller and a wireless rain detector to provide a highly automated, full functional rainwater/irrigation system without wires.
Will's Passive and Active System
Every 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 end with it.
Will’s rainwater catchment system is a great example of this. His completed system comprises both an active and several passive systems. The active system can also be used passively.
His house is approximately 1,610 square feet and can possibly capture about 12,000 gallons a year in total (i.e. .623 x 1,610 x 12 inches. These canales capture about 75% of the total runoff, or approximately 9,000 gallons a year. But his canales are located on different sides of his existing houses with muture landscaping and small city lot.
Consequently, trenching around his house to install 1 or 2 below ground tanks would have been cost prohibitive. A far better design was to use the water in his 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.
On the back side of his house where a lot of water used to run off the house two 50 gallon rainbarrels had been used to capture the rain. These were replaced with two 225 gallon rainbarrels. Before the old barrels would overflow in even the smallest of storms and rain water would wash across the walkway and through the beds to the neighbors yard in large events.
The new barrels have an overflow to prevent water from washing out the walkway, but more importantly these large barrels are connected to passive irrigation soaker hoses that can be left on all the time to make this active system a slow drip passive system.
Now 100% of the water falling on Will's roof can be captured and used on site. Providing Will years and years of FREE water for his beautifully landscaped year.
In Northern New Mexico, slow wells are becoming increasingly common. These wells, for whatever reason are not producing as they did in the past; going from 6-10 gallons a minute down to sometimes less than 1 gallon a minute.
The normal option to this problem is getting a permit from the state to drill a deeper well. Not a cheap or quick fix. Other options include installing a large holding tank or augmenting well water with rainwater. The first option allows the well to produce at a slow rate over a longer period of time. Household water use is no longer held captive by what may be in the pressure tank.
HarvestH2o has designed and been involved in installing several of these types of systems over the last few years. Deepening a well can be cost prohibitive and is typically a short to medium-term solution. Literally it is like chasing water down a hole. Water levels are dropping and are highly likely to continue to drop. Installing a holding tank foregoes the need to deepen the well; while fully utilizing the existing well and infrastructure. Additionally this design provides the ability for the tank to be filled by a water hauler or potentially tied into a rainwater harvesting system.
One such project was installed out in Apache Canyon area. Douglas and Linda had installed a whole-house Reverse Osmosis (RO) system to treat their well water, only to discover that the well was too slow to stay up with their water use level.
The solution was to install a 2,500 gallon underground cistern right next to their well. This tank is filled directly by the well pump which is controlled by a float switch. If the cistern is low then the well pump is switched on until the tank fills and the float shuts off the pump. The cistern is buried approximately 6 feet to provide reliable year-round water, regardless of how cold it gets.
In the cistern an intelligent auto on/off submersible pump was installed. The pump senses water line pressure drops and automatically turns on and turns off when the line pressure is restored to a steady state (e.g. the faucet is turned off). Additionally, this pump has a run dry feature to prevent it from burning out due to no water in the tank.
The cistern when installed included a convenient fill inlet. Douglas buys water from the county and hauls it in to fill the tank, when or if the well is not working. This gives them a failsafe system; always providing them water regardless of the well or the weather.
A well house was installed near the cistern to provide access to the water lines coming from the well and the lines going to the house. A 25-micron filter was installed in the new well house to filter the water prior to it being sent to the house RO system. This well house can be used for additional filtration equipment or metering in the future.
The well pump fills the cistern to approximately 2,000 gallons and this captured water now feeds the house RO system. From Douglas and Linda’s perspective, they see no changes from their life as normal, except now they don’t run out of water. Turn on a faucet and the water runs, summer or winter.
Douglas and Linda have two houses on the property but at this time only use one. When the cistern was installed it was plumbed so another cistern could easily be added. No need to empty the cistern to connect or replumb anything. If the second house is occupied or a small garden planted, this new tank can be easily added.
Instead of drilling a deeper well, Douglas and Linda choose to integrate a large holding tank to their existing system. This solution was far less expensive and quicker than other options. The option they chose provides more water security - they can augment their water with hauled in water or rainwater; regardless of weather or well water.