It was a busy week at Firefly Plumbing but a good kind of busy. We spent two days at the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association (ARCSA) boning up on some of the latest rules, regulations, and technologies relating to the harvesting and use of rainwater. With more and longer lasting droughts as well as the depletion of drinking water we felt it was important to become accredited professionals through ARCSA and become more involved in sustainable plumbing practices.
Calgary’s unpredictable weather is a perfect reason to begin catching rainwater; it gives us the opportunity to capture this free source of water and store it during the spring’s weeklong torrential downpours and use it later during our scorching hot streaks in the summer. By storing rainwater in this way we can reduce our use of city water, lowering our water bills and avoiding any water restrictions imposed by the city. With a properly sized rainwater system the days of laying a Frisbee upside down on your lawn can be a distant memory.
At the moment rainwater can only be used in Alberta for irrigation and for use with toilets. Cities continue to place more and more restrictions on water use and with the depletion of potable water you can be sure that rainwater harvesting will become a big part of the solution. Cities such as Okotoks have already imposed heavy restrictions on water use in the summer months including purchasing a permit to use water during certain days of the week for gardening purposes. The potential per season catchment if you were to use only the roof of a standard 20’ x 25’ detached garage to catch rainwater in Calgary could be up to 3,366 gallons or roughly 12,741 liters. Not too shabby for something the city can’t put a meter on.