Saturday, October 6, 2012

# 356 - Rain Water Catchment Systems

Part of my classic movie watching included "Night of the Living Dead" and it was creepy. I think I've seen bits and parts of it through the years, but never all the way through. It was odd.

Speaking of scary, a group of family members are addicted to the AMC television series, "The Walking Dead" because it has a mixture of survivalist concepts combined with a virus of some type that turns the dead into The Walking Dead or you'll become one of them if you are scratched, bit or infected by a "Walker."

If you watched "Lost," I am finding that this series is very similar. Bands of people, good groups, bad groups...the monsters that you must's compelling and addicting. It's hard to watch scary things, but it is October. BOO!

As for interesting details, I've been studying the possibility of setting up the cabin with a rain catchment system to use for most water needs. With a dad who is a plumber and a brother who loves to be a naturalist himself, I'm in good hands. Even the deputy has good ideas and a strong drive to lean toward such a system --- between these three men, I think a great system can be put in place for the country cabin. A good system can provide all the water needed for cooking, washing, gardening and more.

There is a man here in Texas, West Texas, where it is high and dry with problems getting water and he got around the lack of water sources by putting in a rain water catchment system. He built an incredible log cabin on five acres with his system at work every day, he's been an integral teacher for others to learn this system. He's my hero of the week.

Below is a link to create a rain water catchment system.

Billy Kniffen served as the first president of the Texas Rain Water Catchment Association. Billy's family has lived using a rain catchment system in that area of Texas that can be dry and brutal and without suitable well water. Rain water has been his family's only water source.

With a rain water catchment system, you won't have to rely on public water, you won't have to worry about paying a water bill, you won't have to worry about the high expense of digging a well and the limitations that come with having a well, you won't have to worry about a well going dry and you can set up catchment systems throughout your acreage, where needed, large or small.

Internet picture of Billy Kniffen's home in West Texas.

He set up a system where rain is capture from the rooftop of the house and the barn and he stores captured rain water in 3,000 gallon tanks. His system gives him a supply that would last about 7 months. Of course, he and his family utilize practices and tools that help reduce their daily water consumption, but those are not expensive to put into place and developing proper habits can be easily learned.

He takes what he calls the "Two-Minute Military Man Shower." Actually, I was laughing out loud when I read this because I lived for three years in Germany where our water was an extremely high priced commodity As part of our Introduction to the base, for those of us who would be living on the economy (off base) we were going to have to learn how to ration water and electricity on a level we'd never been forced to do before.

This meant were were given detailed, serious instructions on how conserve such resources. For showers, we were taught to turn on the water, just long enough to drench the body and hair, turn off the water, lather up and scrub, then turn the water back on to rinse. For years, this is how I showered. In fact, when we purchased our first RV and it had the shower head with the easy one-flip switch to turn off the water without turning the knobs for temperature change, I thought it was brilliant and wondered why household showers don't have these same kinds of shower heads as standard equipment? If they came standard, the public might have a tendency to use less water. Of course, there will be those people who will never flip the switch, but for those who do, they are making the world a better place.

As for the training in electricity, Germans have incredible windows. The best I've ever seen. Their windows have the capacity to be covered by outer roll-down shutters that completely block out the light and protect the windows from a single rain drop when it storms. The shutters are great for home protection and to block solar energy. To this day, I miss having those shutters. Ours were the hand-crank variety and a couple were rolled up and down through pulling a sturdy strap built into the wall. To this day I would love to have those on our windows.

The Germans also had bright light in every room and a power switch was rarely used during the day. Even now, I live every day without hardly ever touching a light switch. I prefer natural lighting, even as it dims throughout the day. If I'm doing task-oriented work, then I will use a light. However, my power usage is minimal. The one thing I splurge on is air-conditioning. However, I  know that when I'm in the country and beneath some shade trees, there's no need for cooled air, it feels perfect beneath the trees.

Billy Kniffen now travels and trains others through rain catchment workshops so they can also learn to live without purchasing water. It's one way to live a little off the grid.

Additionally, he uses a wood stove to heat his log cabin and he built his cabin with a three-sided porch to avoid solar gain and to make outside living space more enjoyable. In Texas, outside living space is important to most people.

His family uses the grey water from the washing machine to water the yard.

All of the diagrams help to make some sense out of this rain water catchment system.

The below link is more of Billy Kniffen's work and it has a great photo of his own home that I love. There's also a rain water catchment system behind a varnished wood fence that makes the system non-intrusive and beautiful.


LindaG said...

We want to use tanks of some sort to catch rainwater to help during dry months.

Not sure if we'll be able to afford them but one of the local fuel companies sometimes has empty containers for sale at low cost that we may be able to use.

You're lucky to have so many people that can do plumbing!
Have a blessed Sunday, Lana!

Vickie said...

I think these ideas are great. I've brought them up to my husband on different occasions, but he and I agree that until and unless we build a permanent residence here on this piece of land, it would be too costly at this point. Maybe one day. I'm looking forward to seeing how all this pans out at your place. said...

Well, given my situation, I'll probably just have to have the city water ran to the cabin. But, I'm sure I will play Miss Exploration and Miss Naturalist in the garden area where I'll try to set up a rain water catchment system so I can have easy access to water for the plants and it be FREE!


Modern Day Redneck said...

Mine has been set up and running for almost a year now and it's great. I use the water in my solar bathhouse, watering the animals and also the gardens. It runs off a solar on demand pump and it keeps the pressure at a constant 45 psi.
All my tanks are full right now and it is very reassuring to know that if the well goes out again.