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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Ijams installs new rainwater harvesting system

Collected rainwater is stored in a 1,550 gallon tank and used to water gardens in summer

Sustainability Report #7: Rainwater harvesting system

Capturing rainwater is not a new idea.  It is, in fact, a very ancient practice.  South Asia has practiced continuous rainwater collection for 8,000 years*. In many parts of the world ancient tanks, cisterns and other methods of collecting rainfall have been documented for centuries.  Changes in rainfall patterns, climate changes, and growing population contribute significantly to our need to better utilize fresh water sources.

In arid parts of the world, the reasons for collecting rainwater are obvious.  Extreme droughts like those in the 1930’s that contributed to the dust bowl are a great lesson and reminder of the dire implications of rain. My grandparents’ farm in west Texas has two tanks that are the pivot point of all discussions on the health of the farm.  These tanks, one for our cattle and one for the house, have been dry or almost dry for the past two decades.  Conserving water was never far from our minds.

Here, in East Tennessee however, as I sit inside on yet another rainy day, it is hard to imagine a shortage of water.  So, why collect rainwater?  Well sometimes too much of a good thing is not a good thing.  Surface runoff can contribute to erosion and pollution. One way to prevent this runoff is collect rainwater from our roofs.  

Ijams Nature Center has just installed its first rainwater harvesting system with the help of a local company called Rainwater Resources.  The system collects rain from approximately 1,125 sq. ft. of roof (or 4 of 6 downspouts) and holds it in a 1,550 gallon tank at the corner of the building.  This water will be used to irrigate our terrace gardens and any overflow will be routed into a water feature currently under construction. 

If you would like to know more about ways to harvest this valuable resource, visit www.rainwaterresources.com . Systems can be retrofitted or planned into new development and can qualify for LEED points.

- Story by Ben Nanny. Photo: Stephen Lyn Bales


  1. Thanks for providing me the defination of Rainwater resources. Great strength of information is collecting and reusing water from Rain harvesting system.

  2. It was really nice rain water harvesting system. I like your blog very much and thanks for providing the information regarding rain water harvesting.

  3. I like the technique for water management installed by ljams. thanks Ben for sharing such nice blog with us.great work keep it up and update more solution for rain water harvest.

  4. This is such a nice technique for Rainwater collection , and this type of technique is really helpful for indian farmers because In India, a mainly farming industry, the little farmers still depends on the monsoons to maintain their plants.