|Rainwater: Pure and Simple, it still works
|MA Spina es colaboradora del Periódico Sol de Osa|
News flash, 15 years after publishing “Rainwater: Pure and Simple”, I am thrilled to report that rainwater collection still works! Rainwater catchment has been in practice for centuries and is widely used in Europe, Australia, India and many other remote areas with much less rainfall than the Osa. Harvesting rain water helps reduces the impact on aquifers, lessening the demand on ecologically sensitive or threatened water sources. Directing the flow through gutters and tanks also helps reduce erosion and flooding. Since rainwater catchment needs no treatment, pumping or distribution, it helps save energy and eliminates the need for costly and potentially harmful chemical treatments. A rain catchment system can be as simple as directing a gutter to a lidded barrel or more hi-tech with large cisterns, first flush diversion (roof wash), and filtration. However one chooses to set it up, hi or lo tech, rainwater harvesting will provide you with pure fresh water at no charge.
Rainwater is free of many contaminants that affect surface and underground water supplies and has very low hardness levels, reducing detergent usage and eliminating the need for water softeners. It is also easier on plumbing fixtures as they will not accumulate plaque or mineral deposits.
With sufficient storage capacity rainwater can be used as the sole source of water or as a supplement to your existing water system. With proper planning, conservation and storage, one can avoid the water shortages that are so common here during the dry summer months.
Some of you have probably seen the large blue 5000-liter water tank up the hill past Lapa Rios on the road to Carate. That’s Finca Siempre Verde, a six hectare property maintained as a private forest reserve for more than twenty years, with approximately five hectares of primary forest. The construction is a simple wood platform house with recycled plastic roofing, solar power, and rainwater catchment. With 10,000 liters of water storage capacity and another 5000 liter tank soon to be installed to collect from the newly finished roof on the caretaker house, that adds up to about two months’ worth of water, which essentially would get through a dry season here in the Osa. After the dry summer months, the area usually gets a big aguacero or downpour in March, which can fill the tanks in a matter of hours. Each subsequent rainfall during the wet season overflows the tanks. This year there was an unseasonable February downpour which filled the 5000 liter tank three quarters full.
Water is still the most precious resource on the planet and the Osa is blessed with lots of agua dulce in the form of rain. Get your gutters on and . . .
Let it rain let it rain let it rain!