Climate Change Impacts: Water & Rain Harvesting

July 1, 2010
1:00 – 2:00pm EDT
National Webcast
Rainwater harvesting is the capture, diversion, and storage of rainwater for a number of purposes from landscape irrigation and stormwater abatement, to drinking and domestic use. Rainwater harvesting can be as simple as diverting rain runoff to planted landscape areas across a contoured landscape, or to rain barrels or cisterns from gutters and downspouts. The practicality of rainwater harvesting can applied to small residential projects as well as large facilities such as parking lots, parks, and commercial or industrial buildings. These strategies can help solve a variety of pressing water concerns about stormwater runoff, pollution, potability, river diversion, and energy consumption. Its potential is especially attractive in helping to mitigate impacts on the environment and climate in places like California, where pumping water is the number one use of electricity.

Downloadable Resource:
Climate Change Impacts: Water & Rain Harvesting Resource List
Jason Schmidt, Program Associate, Natural Urban Systems Group, TreePeople (Beverly Hills, CA)
In collaboration with multiple City, State, and Federal agencies, TreePeople has built a number of rainwater harvesting demonstration sites throughout the City of Los Angeles, including a 216,000-gallon cistern beneath the organization’s Center for Community Forestry headquarters. Their cistern, which saves rainwater collected from the Center’s rooftops and parking lot effectively reduces runoff from leaving the site, and this water is reused for irrigation of the park in dry months. Each of these projects uses very simple technology to mimic the water- capturing processes of a forest not only for reuse but also to infiltrate into groundwater aquifers. If more homes and businesses harvested rainwater, it would decrease the amount of polluted runoff that ends up in the ocean and reduce the city’s need to import 85 percent of its usable water, which comes at a high cost to consumers, the environment and the communities in which that water originated.
Brenda Smith, Executive Director, Nine Mile Run Watershed Association (Pittsburgh, PA)
Through its Rain Barrel Initiative, the Nine Mile Run Watershed Association is installing barrels at homes in four study neighborhoods within the watershed, to help demonstrate the effectiveness of rain barrels on lowering the amount of stormwater runoff into the community’s waterways. Residents in the four study neighborhoods are offered free rain barrels, free installation, and free technical support for two years. The initiative features locally-produced barrels capable of holding up to 133 gallons of stormwater.
Webcast attendees will learn about:
* The impact of water harvesting on energy consumption and climate change.
* Incorporating rain harvesting equipment into site design.
* Analyzing the effects of rain harvesting on runoff in your community.
* Connecting rain and water harvesting to urban forestry.
* Educating and motivating local utilities and government about investing in rain harvesting projects.
* Best practices for channeling rainwater at homes and businesses.
About the Webcast Series
The Webcast Series is the Alliance for Community Trees’ bimonthly webcast series held at the lunch hour and made possible through support from The Home Depot Foundation and USDA Forest Service. The goal is to create informal training opportunities for local urban and community forestry organizations. The content is geared to mainly serve the needs of volunteer organizations and community groups, although webcasts are open to all.
The trainings leverage local successes by amplifying to a larger audience the model organizations’ methods, materials, and approaches. Sessions are planned to last no more than one hour, with two presenters speaking on the same topic from slightly different perspectives, each for 10-15 minutes, followed by 10-15 minutes of questions and answers.