Archive for March, 2011

World Groups Advocate Full Rainwater Use

March 23, 2011


As a board member of ARCSA, I was involved with the drafting of this statement and am delighted to see this picked up on so many media outlets.  The combination of availability and purity of harvested rainwater makes it an obvious part of solutions to world water supply issues.



Bob Drew

Founder – ECOVIE Rainwater Collection Systems

Published: Monday, 21 Mar 2011 | 5:48 PM ET
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AUSTIN, Texas, March 21, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — The American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association ( and worldwide groups from 19 nations on World Water Day advocate full utilization of rainwater harvesting.

The mission of ARCSA is to promote sustainable rainwater harvesting practices to help solve potable, non-potable, stormwater and energy challenges throughout the world. | 1-512-617-6528 | Joint Rainwater Statement World Water Day March 22, 2011 The UN Human Rights Council affirms the human right to safe drinking water.(1) Now is the time for the world’s governments to contribute to the provision of a regular supply of safe, accessible and affordable drinking water in sufficient quantity for 884 million more people.

On World Water Day 2011, the undersigned organizations wish to strongly advocate for the use of rainwater: it must be considered as an important tool in efforts to minimize the water related problems that already exist.

Rainwater is a valuable resource that is underutilized. Its capture and use can alleviate challenges related to potable, non-potable, stormwater and energy.

Local rainwater harvesting solutions enhance water security and provide important relief to households and communities. All around the world, rainwater infiltration, collection and storage offers benefits for the environment, wildlife and humans, and improves water availability for industry and agriculture.

It is time for rainwater catchment to be included in the development plans of all governmental agencies as part of their integrated water resource management strategies.

Introduction of the concept of rainwater management – maximizing rain’s benefits as a vital resource while minimizing potential rain hazards – to curricula of technical schools and universities will bring future benefits to urban planning, architectural and agricultural projects.


American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association (ARCSA) International Rainwater Harvesting Alliance (IRHA) International Rainwater Catchment Systems Association (IRCSA) Association pour un environnement CONstruit VIvant et VErt Brazilian Rainwater Catchment and Management Association Cabell Brand Center Conseil de gouvernance de l’eau des bassins versants de la riviere Saint-Francois Consortium Across the Community to Harvest Water

Demon of Ecology-AVGI

Dundee UNESCO Centre, University of Dundee European Rainwater Catchment Association Green Cross International Groupements pour la Promotion et l’Exploitation des Ressources de l’Environnement (GROPERE) Ingenieurs du Monde Integrated Rainwater Management Systems Project for the Ethiopian Highlands

IWA Rainwater Harvesting and Management Specialist Group Kenya Rainwater Association Landscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association LivingEducation Minnesota Nursery & Landscape Association; Network of Rural Women Producers Trinidad and Tobago NGO Forum for Urban Water and Sanitation Ontario Parks Association Rain for All RainWater Cambodia

Rainwater Club Rainwater Harvesting Implementation Network Safe Water International Save Our Life-Ghana Foundation

Southern and Eastern Africa Rainwater Network University of Arizona Watershed Management Group Watershed Organization Trust (1) UNHRC Resolution A/HRC/15/L.14, September 30, 2010 SOURCE American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association Copyright (C) 2011 PR Newswire. All rights reserved -0- KEYWORD: Texas INDUSTRY KEYWORD: ENV



UW-Madison lake scientist gets world’s top water prize

March 23, 2011



Just a feelgood news items on World Water Day that someone from my alma mater won the top water prize.

March 22, 2011

by Terry Devitt

Stephen Carpenter is pictured in Lake Mendota near the campus shoreline on July 29, 2009.

Photo: Jeff Miller

Noted University of Wisconsin-Madison limnologist Stephen Carpenter has been awarded the 2011 Stockholm Water Prize, the world’s most prestigious award for water-related activities, it was announced in Stockholm, Sweden today (Tuesday, March 22).

The award, which comes with $150,000 and a specially designed crystal sculpture, honors individuals and organizations “whose work contributes broadly to the conservation and protection of water resources and to improved health of the planet’s inhabitants and ecosystems.”

The award will be conferred in August by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden in a royal award ceremony at Stockholm City Hall.

“It s a great honor to be selected,” says Carpenter, the Stephen Alfred Forbes Professor of Zoology at UW-Madison. “So many great people have received this award, and there are so many great people who could have received it. I am surprised.”

Video: Stephen Carpenter on receiving the 2011 Stockholm Water Prize

Still frame from video


Video: Peter Kleppin

Carpenter, who directs theUW-Madison Center for Limnology, is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. He is one of the world’s most distinguished authorities on lakes and fresh water ecosystems, including eutrophication, long-term ecological change, lake food web dynamics, and the economic and social aspects of fresh water ecology.

He is a former president of the Ecological Society of America and his research, embodied in five books and nearly 300 scientific papers, is among the most cited in all of environmental science. He has received numerous awards and honors, including a Pew Fellowship in Conservation and Environment, the G. Evelyn Hutchinson Medal of the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, and the Robert H. MacArthur Award from the Ecological Society of America.

“The prize increases my resolve and sense of obligation to work on emerging issues of fresh water, such as climate change and the connections of food and water security,” says Carpenter.

The Stockholm water Prize was first presented in 1991. Past recipients include such luminaries as Rita Colwell, former director of the U.S National Science Foundation. The prize is presented each year in Stockholm during World Water Week. This year the prize will be conferred on Aug. 25.


Metro Atlanta Water Rates

March 18, 2011
Cobb County Follows Neighboring
Counties With New Water Rate Increases
The Cobb County Board of Commissioners approved a water and sewer rate adjustment that went into effective January 1, 2011. Water rates went up 6% and wastewater rates went up 4%.
DeKalb County has increased water rates every year from 2008 through 2011. At this rate, a DeKalb County family’s water and sewer bill could increase 110 percent from 2009 to 2014 or even more if the state experiences more droughts like the one in 2007. Fulton approved a 15 percent water hike in May 2008. And Gwinnett County was given approval for water and sewer rate increases each January through 2015.
City of Atlanta residents and businesses have water rates that are about double the surrounding counties because of its sewer renovation project. Atlantans already pay more than people in other major cities to flush their toilets or turn on their taps: 108% more than in New York; 98% more than in Nashville; 144% more than in San Antonio.
So how do you offset these increases? Build you own water supply (rainwater collection) and conserve water use with low flow fixtures and fix leaks.  Install high efficiency irrigation.  Per capita water consumption indoors is reportedly around 70 gallons per day.  Taking all of these measures, it is not hard to achieve 10-20 gallons per day.  Many ECOVIE clients have done this.  Check out


March 5, 2011

Blogger Note:

This was posted about us on HGTV this week.  We are grateful to Gretchen for doing this article.  There are a couple technical points I would like to clarify.  One, even residential systems can be larger than 7,000 gallons although a typical range is 2,000 to 4,000 gallons.  Commercial and institutional system can be far larger than this.  Second, cost of a 2,000 to 4,000 gallon below ground system is in the range given.  A 1,000 gallon above ground system costs substantially less, typically $2,500 to $4,000.,3543,HPRO_42753_6036725,00.html

By Gretchen Roberts

Water: Finite, increasingly expensive and a must for every household, this precious commodity can be captured from the sky, reducing dependence on municipal water, saving money and conserving one of Mother Nature’s most precious resources. Rain collection systems can be as simple as a rain barrel that collects water from the gutter or as complex as a 7,000-gallon underground tank that filters and pipes rainwater into a home or business for indoor use.

A rainwater collection system is appealing in this age of environmental awareness and personal economy, says Bob Drew, founder of EcoVie Environmental, a rainwater collection systems company in Atlanta. The primary environmental advantage: Rainwater is stored in a tank for later use instead of running off and causing erosion, flooding and pollution problems from overflowing city sewer systems. For the property owner, there is a net-cost savings, and water quality is higher, Drew says. Since an American family of four can use 400 gallons of water per day, the savings potential is high, especially in areas with plenty of rain and high municipal water costs.

A basic rainwater collection system consists of a holding tank, above or below ground, which collects rainwater from the roof via gutters and downspouts. The tank’s filter weeds out large debris like sticks and leaves, and a pump directs collected water toward its intended use — often outdoor irrigation, but sometimes indoors for flushing toilets, doing laundry and even drinking water, which requires extra filtration.

The initial cost and long-term savings potential of a rainwater collection system depend on several variables, including the size of the storage tank, the level of treatments, how much water can be collected and the price of water in your area, Drew says.

“For example, a 3,000-square-foot rooftop with a 1,000-gallon tank might cost $10-15,000, or a few thousand more if you pipe the water indoors,” Drew says. “But the payback period is short — sometimes just 5 to 10 years, depending on your water rates and how much you use.” As to the system’s longevity? Most tanks are warrantied for 50 years, with pumps lasting five to 10 years. “There is some maintenance needed eventually, but overall, systems are fairly maintenance-free,” Drew says.

For a typical residential system installation, Drew looks at average water usage, the goals of the customer (cost savings, erosion runoff, etc.) and historical rainfall data to determine how the system might perform. Installations take two or three days, or up to five for more complex ones. Some landscape designers or engineering firms install systems, but often specialty companies do independent or subcontracted installations.

Home and business owners opt to install systems for a variety of reasons. “Most have a desire to be green, to altruistically do their part for the environment. Others want to go off the grid and become self-sufficient with their own water supply. Some people are trying to solve runoff and erosion problems on their property,” Drew says.

Learn more about rainwater collection systems at, the online rainwater harvesting community, or find an ARCSA (American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association) accredited professional at

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