CARMEL VALLEY AND MONTEREY RAINWATER HARVESTING
At Monterey Rainwater our specialty is building quality rainwater harvesting systems. Our systems make sense. They are low cost, low maintenance, and highly sustainable.
Rainwater catchment, as far as Carmel Valley, and Monterey are concerned, is simply catching the rainwater that hits the roof, and storing it for later use. This simple feat is performed by diverting yor rainwater into a holding tank.
In Carmel Valley and the Monterey area, our Mediterranean climate makes this process little trickier. Since it only rains four or five months out of the year, we can only catch the rain during this short season. More than enough rainwater falls in our winter months, enough for excellent rainwater catchment, we just need a place to put it all.
This means storage, and a lot of it, at least 2500 gallons to last long dry growing season. The Carmel Valley, Monterey homeowner has pretty much the same problem as Cal-Am, just on a smaller scale. There's plenty of water, we just let it all flow away.
The numbers are easier than you would think. Most homes are capable of capturing more than 10,000 gallons of water per season. So don't worry about having enough water to collect, there's more than enough water hitting your property, even during the drought, there's more water than most systems can store. On then other end, many homes need much more than 20,000 gallons of irrigation water every season, again, much more than you can store. So the one number that really matters is storage. How much storage makes sense for you.
The process of rainwater catchment is straightforward enough. First, the source of the water is examined. The roof, of course is the place to start. The location of trees, and the debris they produce, needs to be considered, as does the design of the roof, and of course the gutter system becomes more important as they channel the water towards the collection point.
Next, the tank site needs to be chosen. It needs to be stable, then aesthetics of the tank site, needs to be considered, but aesthetics can easily be addressed by proper design,. The simple solution such as using a small tank by the house and keeping the major storage further away is very effective. Also camouflaging the tank through various means, such as fencing, screens, trellises with plants, or even an artistic paint job can make the tank practically disappear.
Once in place, the tank is connected to the source. The downspout is cut, and a diverter is installed. This device has a screen filter that sends the leaves, and debris, down the old downspout and lets the clean water be diverted to the tank. These screens are self cleaning and should be maintenance free. After the screening, the water is sent to yet another component that is unique to rainwater catchment. This fourth component is the First Flush system. It uses the beginning of a rainfall to clean the roof. It discards the first few minutes of a rainfall and sends it down the original downspout. This is to keer the dust and pollen and anything else that builds up on the roof from entering your tank. As more rain falls, this system closes itself off and sends the cleaner water, off to your tank. The piping to your tank can be underground and with proper design, gravity can be used to send this water into your tank. The tank is quite simple. We take steps to make sure all the connections are seismically safe, because a break here would mean a major loss of water. The water outlet on the side of tank is designed for multiple uses. Usually their is a pump to send the water into the irrigation system, a tap right at the tank, possible connections to a second tank or even a stand pipe for fire protection. There’s also an overflow outlet. that sends the excess water, out and away from the tank. Once the tank is full, that's pretty much it. Rainwater catchment is a logical, reliable, alternative source of some of the most beautiful water on the planet. And it is reliable even in drought years, with our systems filling and refilling quickly as they are used for winter irrigation. The obvious use for this alternative water supply is as irrigation for the yard and garden. But in a major crisis this could easily be treated for use as drinking water. It could also have some very valuable benefit as a water source for flushing toilets and doing laundry. The details are being worked on now but when it does happen it will quadruple the VALUE, while adding little to the cost.