Rainwater Harvesting Techniques
By: Justin Bryan
Can we ever get off the water discussion in Texas? No probably not, especially in regards to livestock and wildlife. From a wildlife perspective, our native game and nongame species have, over time, developed survival characteristics that allow them to be somewhat drought tolerant…save those years (2010 – 2014) we are in extreme drought conditions. Of course, like us, animals would prefer to not have to travel two to three miles each day for a drink and then compete with individuals of its own kind or other species for that resource. Therefore, in my opinion, I don’t think one property can ever have too much water available, as this minimizes physical and social stress between various and/or like species and assures water under all climatic conditions. This is why land owners/managers in Texas should take a hard look at rainwater harvesting.
Free-standing sources of water such as ponds and lakes are great but are subjected to high evaporation rates during the summer. Water guzzlers, on the other hand, are excellent for rainwater harvesting and greatly minimizing evaporation. In addition, by storing water it is available for a longer period of time and guzzlers can be easily placed throughout a property creating more locations of available water. Guzzlers can be large, capturing thousands of gallons of water during a rainfall event, or small, containing only 50 gallons. This all depends on the land manager’s desires and pocketbook.
The general rule of thumb for rainwater harvesting is 0.62 gallons per square foot of roof area per inch of rain. Doing the math in a hypothetical situation…2 (in. rainfall) x 2,000 (sq. ft. of your roof) x 0.62 x 0.85 (collection efficiency of the roof) = 2,108 gallons of water harvested from a 2-inch rainfall. Total storage capacity is up to you; if you want more or need to store more, purchase larger storage tanks.
For the rural land owner/manager, water guzzlers or rainwater harvesting equipment is ideal, especially in dry locations such as southwestern U.S. These simple rainfall capturing systems provide an excellent means of “holding” rainfall for wildlife and livestock and making it available for long periods of time. For more information regarding water guzzlers and rainfall harvesting for wildlife and livestock, feel free to contact us at Hall and Hall.