Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Rain Water, how hard could it be?

RainWater is naturally soft, plants can hydrate much easier with rainwater than hard well water or hard tap water. This is why plants bloom and look so much better after a rain. So, all we need do, is use the plants that are regionally native in the landscapes we put around buildings. Or with plants that will live on just the rain, adaptive plants. Oh, did I hear you think, "it does not rain enough to support the landscape" ? My reply is we make it hard on ourselves when we want a landscape that is not native, in that we must augment the rain using a piping system and "Tap" water when we go outside of our regions plant natives. We make it hard to maintain an imported plant that is out of it's native environment. We make it "hard" by using hard water, and that is difficult for the plant to consume due to the hardness of the minerals in the water. Ok, you want a lush landscape, that can be done using native and adaptive plants. Other requirements do exist, like mulch, good soil, shade, and correct hydro zoning. Hydro zoning is planting and clustering plants in like areas requiring simular water, sun, and other. If irrigation is used, this grouping is smart so the plants needing water are together and plants needing to dry out between are allowed to do so. Looks are one thing, correct is another, both can co-exist, but good planning is required. Capturing rainwater is one way of creating a greener or more lush landscape with out using the hard and expensive tap water. Simple to do? depends on your definition of simple. Yes hire a professional ARCSA (American RainWater Catchment System Association)contractor, simple enough? Yes, simple enough for the consumer, but far more goes into a well designed and installed system than I thought, till I did a few systems. The water may be soft, but the task is a hard one. Some rules of thumb do exist, but most people want "turn & squirt" that's a play on words like "plug n play". We have come to just think water comes out when we open a faucet! When we stop the faucet, the water just sits there and waits for us to demand it some more. I say "demand it" because if the water does not squirt out instantly, we call plumbers till one shows up and are quite Impatient till the instant hot or cold and clean water just squirts out at our will. Water issues are already in most every town and city in most every country. The reason is the population has expanded, and the water system and capacity have not. Everyday wells go dry from too many wells sucking up all the water. Some wells do not dry up, instead the water just comes out from different levels of rock and aquifers. Too often this new source is very hard or even contaminated from either man caused reasons, or simply natural occouring deposits of non potable substances. Iron may seem easy to filter out, but if it oxidizes it will turn muddy and can foul up your pipes or treatment system. I hear people say, "oh, I will just drill a well and get all the water I want", this is not a sustainable thought, either because the well could drug up, or because if too many people do this the local authorities having control over water issues will set limits on who and how much or when and at what cost… In the 80's I saw the electric company in Az. require electric meters be installed on well systems and put a limit on the power that would be allowed to be used to pump the well water. The ground water is becoming an issue in most areas, most certainly going to be a controlled and limited source.

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