Fredericksburg SHINES

Leading the Way in Sustainability

Reclaiming Your Water: At Home or the Office

Rain Collection Systems

A significant amount of water that is wasted is due to extraneous outdoor uses. Incorporating a rain barrel into your yard is a great way to capture a fresh source of water for small household chores and gardening projects! Some cities are promoting the use of rain barrels by providing them for free or at a reduced cost to those who are currently dependent on City water services. Local governments are finally starting to recognize the importance of water conservation and its many benefits!

With this dual barrel system, overflow from the first barrel goes directly into the second barrel. PVC pipe connects the two barrels on the bottom (not visible here)

Check it out! The State of Texas offers a sales tax exemption towards the purchase of equipment, supplies, and services used solely for certain types of water conservation. If you’re in Austin, you may be eligible for a $30 rebate on purchase of a 75 gallon rain barrel.   Find out which rebates you could be eligible for.   Austin rebates of up to $500 are available for larger collection systems of at least 300 gallon capacity.    If you live in San Marcos you may be elgible for a $50 rebate for a rain barrel with capacity of 100 gallons or less.    Green Living for the Hill Country also recommends some eco-friendly rain barrels available in the Hill Country.   Click here to learn more.

No need to worry about restrictions on rainwater catchment in Texas:   “HB 645, passed by the 78th Legislature in 2003, prevents homeowners associations from banning outdoor water-conserving measures such as composting, water-efficient landscapes, drip irrigation, and rainwater harvesting installations.”   However, there  may  be requirements to screen or shield the  water collection  tanks from public view.

Rain Gardens

A rain garden is a fun way for the green thumb in your family to get involved in conservation! Special care should be taken to select flowers which are native to your region, rain gardens have the greatest impact when native plants are used. These special gardens should be strategically placed near your homes down-spouts or other drainage points. Capturing rainwater, it diverts water from storm waters systems allowing the natural process of groundwater recharging to occur while providing a beautiful, natural garden.

Here are some simple steps you can take to make your current garden as green as possible!

  • repair or replace leaky hoses and sprinklers
  • use the water you collect in your rain barrel to water your indoor and outdoor plants
  • use permeable walkways or cement when building paths in your yard; this allows rain water to naturally replenish the groundwater
  • purchase a timer or rain sensor to monitor your lawn monitoring

Want to Learn More?

Check out these links for helpful information on conserving water in your garden!

The Low Impact Development Center is a comprehensive source for all things relating to rain gardens! Check out their Plants section to find out which plants are native to your area!

Maybe you’re like me and you’re totally new to gardening! Here’s a how-to manual for rain gardens which has en enormous amount of helpful information!

Texas A&M offers a comprehensive rainwater collection resource.

Contributed by John Watson and Andrea Lewis | Master of Urban Planning and Policy Candidate | 5/8/2009 (revised 9/12/2009 and 3/28/2012)



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