California’s 3-Year Drought Prompts Rain Harvesting Industry To Grow

On the surface, the news that Sierra snowpack measurements show water content at 81% of normal appears to be good news. But the Department of Water Resources (DWA) reports that the economic impacts of the California drought — now in its third year – will be devastating.

“Central Valley farm revenue loss is estimated to range between $325 million and $477 million,” according to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s California Drought Report. “Total income losses to those directly involved in crop production, and to those in business related to crop production is estimated to range between $440 million and $644 million.”

The result of the sustained drought, according to the report, will be an estimated loss of 16,200 to 23,700 full-time equivalent jobs.

“The overall water supply situation has not improved enough to make up for the two previous dry years and low reservoir conditions,” says DWR Director Lester Snow. “Water storage is about five million acre feet below average.”

The growing population in California isn’t helping either. Since 1990, nine million new residents have inhabited the state, dramatically increasing the demand for water.????????????????????????

To fulfill this need, numerous methods for water conservation are springing up. But the one that is gaining significant attention from business and home owners is one that has been around since the beginning of mankind– rainwater collection.


Tim Pope, president of the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association (ARCSA), sees a growing demand for information about harvesting rainwater. “Rain harvesting is growing tremendously in the United States, especially in California,” said Pope. “California seems to wait for a catastrophe (drought) before it goes after a cause like collecting rainwater.”

Pope recently led a two-day rainwater harvesting workshop in San Francisco, where demand for education is particularly high. The workshop prepares individuals and business owners for the ARCSA accredited professional test for rain harvesting.

The administrative office of ARCSA also notes an increase in interest in California for rainwater collection. “Our membership base in California grew to become our second largest state, behind Texas, in 2008,” reports ARCSA’s Sharon Mineo.

George Vega, a customer of Rain Harvesting Systems says he really enjoys using rainwater for outdoor use. “When I use the harvested rainwater for my plants and garden, I feel good that I am not using city and county water, especially during this drought year. Also, as a Battalion Chief Firefighter for 32 years, I know the importance of storing water to prepare for disasters and emergency times.”

Bill Monroe, a Boulder Creek resident, who recently had a 5,000-gallon rain collection system installed, said the drought was his primary motivation. “I plan to be as prepared for the worst of the drought as possible by using a drip system and managing my water wisely. My rainwater storage will hopefully get me through any future rough spots.”

One of the main components in all of Rain Harvesting Systems is the use of a first stage filter called Gutterglove Gutterguard, which allows only clean, filtered rainwater to be captured. The fine stainless steel mesh of Gutterglove keeps out all of the leaves, pine needles, seed pods and even sand out of the gutter and rain tank

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 23rd June 2009


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