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ABC Hosts First Rainwater Collection Day.
More than 600 people turned out for ABC's first Rainwater Collection Day, held June 5, 1999. Visitors enjoyed informational tours of the gardens and the rainwater collection system at the Case Mill Homestead as part of a citywide tour of rainwater harvesting sites. ABC served as the first stop and headquarters of the tour, which was organized by the City of Austin Water Conservation Department. Representatives from the City of Austin were on hand to provide information, demonstrate the use of smaller rainbarrels, and to provide information on other city water conservation programs. ABC staff also provided information on future garden designs, volunteer opportunities, and ABC programs and publications. A second tour took place on Oct. 2.

ABC received a $5,000 grant toward the $15,000 total cost of purchasing and installing the first stage of its rainwater collection system. Water is collected from each roof in small galvanized "ranch-style" tanks and is channeled immediately by gravity to a pumping tank that filters the water and pumps it into one 10,000-gallon storage tank. If not replenished, this supply can be used to irrigate the medicinal botanical gardens for up to two weeks.

ABC is currently seeking funding to install the last two 10,000-gallon storage tanks and associated equipment that will complete the system. The use of such rainwater harvesting systems reduces the need for city water for landscape irrigation and makes use of the ancient conservation technique of collecting, channeling, and using rainwater.

In return for the city's support in this effort, ABC agreed to continue to participate in a series of tours designed to educate the Austin community on the benefits of rainwater harvesting.

Article copyright American Botanical Council.


By Rachael Jones