Rain Water Harvesting

In many communities throughout Texas, 30 to 50 percent (or more) of the total water is used for landscape irrigation. With droughts putting a strain on public water supplies in 2011 and 2012, rainwater harvesting offers an alternative water source that benefits everyone.

Landscape irrigation is the most common use of rainwater harvested in Texas. It is one of the easiest ways to use stored rainwater because it can be used without pumps and without intense treatment.

Rainwater is good for plants because it is free of salts and other minerals that harm root growth. As rainwater percolates into the soil, it forces salts down and away from root zones, allowing roots to grow better and making plants more drought tolerant. Use the calculator (link at the bottom of the page) to help determine cumulative storage and supplemental water use for your rainwater harvesting system.

From a regulatory perspective, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has rules that only apply to a rainwater system that supplies potable water for a public water system or for any business that manufactures food or beverages. TCEQ does not set minimum treatment requirements for rainwater that will be used as a drinking water source for a single household nor do they regulate nonpotable uses of rainwater. The TCEQ does, however, offer guidelines in its publication Harvesting, Storing, and Treating Rainwater for Domestic Use.