May 22, 2009

Homeowner builds 20,000 gallon rain system

A Mount Serano, Calif., man says his 20,000-gallon rooftop rain-harvesting system prepares him for a number of emergencies, including earthquakes.

What if there is an earthquake and what if the drought continues? Jerry Block said. At least I will have water for my family and neighbors.

Rainwater can also be used for fire suppression, irrigation, car washing and keeping his swimming pool filled, Block said.

California is in the third year of a drought and trying to manage from a water supply system that was built in the 1970s for 18 million people. The state now has 38 million people.

Block's rainwater system, one of the largest of its kind in the Bay Area, links four 5,000 gallon tanks to gutters that collect rain but filter out leaves, plant debris and sand, said officials from Rain Harvesting Systems and Gutterglove Gutterguard, the firms that installed the system.

The system saves the water agency electricity by not having to pump 20,000 gallons of water to Block's home and it reduces storm runoff and erosion problems, Block said.