With recent showers dotting the north Texas landscape and hopefully more precipitation on the way, the Upper Trinity is here to provide the best tips and tricks to maintaining your very own rainwater harvesting system. North Texas receives 31-35 inches of rain annually, and just a fraction caught from a roof or barn can sustain landscaping, livestock, or family homes. Apart from reducing weathering of soils and streets, rainwater harvesting helps alleviate stress on local groundwater systems. View our recommendations below and consider a harvesting system today.

Rainwater systems can be all manner of shapes and sizes. A small barn, apartment rooftop, or single-family home all have suitable catchment surfaces for harvesting. Not sure how much rain you want to catch? Consider what you’re hoping to use the volumes for, be it a garden, irrigation, or potable household use. This will help you decide on a storage container material and type. A great rule of thumb is for every square foot or roof or surface, you can catch .62 gallons for every inch of rain. That means a 2,000 square foot home could catch 1,240 gallons in a brief thunderstorm!

If your home currently includes gutters, consider attaching a harvesting barrel at the base of your gutter system. Installing that along with a filter at the base of the gutter outlet will keep vegetation and debris from reaching your storage tank, increasing the longevity of your system.

Don’t have gutters? No problem – go outside and look at the shape of your roof. Roof footprints allow you to anticipate the drainage pattern and determine where a rain chain could be installed to lead water to a storage system. While these are less efficient than a gutter, they save time and money for those looking to install something quick and less permanent.

If you’re looking to catch from a barn or larger structure, consider the addition of a pump and filtration system. Micron sediment filters can help reduce debris and ensure clean water is entering your storage systems. Multiple rainwater harvesting companies exist in the north Texas area – research your own contractor at ARCSA.org (The American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association) and find the system that’s right for you.

Did you know the Upper Trinity recently completed our first annual rainwater harvesting program? Stay tuned to the news as we award funds towards two harvesting projects in the Parker County area. The sites will also have resources for residents to design their own systems and learn about the numerous benefits of harvesting. Remember, Texas supports rainwater harvesting by making materials tax exempt, and requiring certain new state facilities to be equipped with systems.

So, get brainstorming with your own system today, and call UTGCD or your local Master Gardener’s Association with any questions or ideas.