Rainwater harvesting is an under-utilized practice in Southern California, in part because of the common misconception that we don't get enough rain to make it viable. However, San Diego County averages about 10 inches of rainfall per year. This may not sound like much, until you consider the effectiveness of rooftop-based rainwater harvesting systems.
The more commonly known practice of using barrels or tanks to collect rainwater is referred to as Active rainwater harvesting. The American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association (ARCSA) defines this as “Rainwater that is collected from roofs and other surfaces into containers and stored for later beneficial use is called active rainwater harvesting”.
Passive rainwater harvesting utilizes the use of rain gardens and earthworks such as swales, basins or depressions to create low maintenance and cost effective means to capture rainwater. Passive rainwater harvesting is defined by (ARCSA) as “Collecting rainwater and runoff directly for infiltration into the ground without immediate storage in a tank is know as passive rainwater harvesting”.
Check out these tools to look up estimated Average Rainfall Totals by State here! *Please note: This calculator is provided for general guidance only. Design and installation of RWH facilities should be based on site-specific conditions and technical expertise.
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