Want to Build a Rain Garden?

Tempest Rainwater is teaming up with Fernwood NRG and Thrive Gardens to bring you a series of workshops that will provide you with all you need to know to design and build a rain garden. The City of Victoria's stormwater utility bills are coming in September. The rain garden you build can qualify you to receive up to $1000 in rebates plus an annual credit against your stormwater charges through their Rainwater Rewards program.

Rain gardens are one of the best ways to restore the natural water cycle in your landscape. For a thorough introduction, choose a two and a half hour session on June 29th (6-8:30 pm) and July 9th (9-11:30 pm). In the more in-depth fall series offered in September and October we will delve deeper and provide one-on-one design assistance. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Call the Fernwood Community Centre to register: 250-381-1552 ext 100 or email foodsecurity@fernwoodnrg.ca

Rainwater in the Enchanted Garden

We just finished installing this beautiful system in a whimsical garden filled with fruit trees and other edibles. The clients have been passionate about collecting rainwater for many years and made the decision to upgrade from a 45 gallon barrel to these two Graf Top Tanks which provide more than 8 times the storage in a compact footprint. The system is also configured with a winter drain that can be set to release water slowly, ensuring that capacity is available to buffer peak stormwater flows during the rainiest months. It meets the City of Victoria standards for the Rainwater Rewards program and the clients will receive a rebate to offset installation costs and a continuing credit against Victoria's stormwater utility which property owners will begin to pay starting in September.

Love the Rain!

Rainy days means more water in the tank. Check out this brief video of rainwater entering conveyance piping through a downspout filter before flowing to storage. The gutters were cleaned prior to the installation but even still, you can see the downspout filter is doing its job by removing bits of debris and preventing it from entering the tank. This system provides over 750 gallons of storage in a Graf Top Tank networked with a Graf Hercules tank. Both of these products come in two pieces and can be assembled on site. This takes a bit of work but makes transport much easier and cheaper. The Hercules can even be buried underground!

If you're interested in the Graf products or other storage options for your rainwater system, give us a call at 250-884-4876.

Rainwater Harvesting Fundamentals

White House Stables is teaming up with Tempest Rainwater to show you how to make better use of rainwater in your home, landscape, farm or business. With our seasonal rains and extended summer dry periods, Southern Vancouver Island is a great place to harvest the rain and store it for future use. Rainwater harvesting can help you and the environment by reducing problems associated with stormwater runoff, lowering water consumption from your well or municipal source and by creating a reserve supply of water that can be used in an emergency. Why not get started this spring?

This workshop will combine rainwater harvesting theory with practical demonstrations to provide you with all of the information you need to create and maintain a functional system. For those who would like to get started right away, we will be able to answer all of your questions and provide design assistance to make sure that your system functions properly and meets your needs and expectations. Interested in hands on learning? The workshop will include a demonstration of how to install rainwater inlet, outlet and overflow fittings in a rain barrel and connect to a gutter or downspout. If you already have a tank or barrel, bring it along and we'll help you get it set up. If not, White House Stables has everything you need to get going on your project!

The afternoon will be jam packed with useful information. Topics addressed include:

  • Rainwater uses and benefits

  • Passive vs active rainwater harvesting

  • Standards and regulations

  • Integrating rainwater harvesting with other rainwater and stormwater management methods

  • Determining rainwater supply and demand

  • System components overview

  • Improving and maintaining water quality

  • Debris filtering to improve water quality

  • Above and below-ground storage tanks

  • Rainwater distribution, pumps, controls and irrigation

We are keeping numbers for this session small to encourage active participation and to ensure that we have time to answer your specific questions. Our goal is to get you excited about all of the possibilities for making better use of the water in your environment and give you the confidence to get started right away. Register now to reserve your spot!

Tank Anatomy

The good folks at Van Isle Water Systems provided a complete rainwater harvesting tank for the ARCSA/CANARM booth at the Canwest Hort Expo with a cutout to show all of the interior components. This generated lots of interest and provides a great illustration for anyone interested in learning more about current rainwater harvesting system best practices. 

This particular tank,manufactured by Premier Plastics, is cylindrical and made of polyethylene which is a type of plastic that is CSA and NSF 61 approved for potable applications. It is designed to be installed above ground and can be purchased in a wide variety of sizes, from 130 to 5000 US gallons. These tanks come standard with a 16" vented access/fill lid but can fitted optionally with a 21" lid. 

Premier tanks are built in one piece and are impact resistant and UV stable. They come with an 8 year warranty but can be expected to last much longer. Colour choices include dark green and black, the darker colours being preferable for water storage to prevent light infiltration which can encourage biological growth within the tank.

This next photo show several interior components more clearly. The larger white PVC pipe on the left is where the water flows in after it is conveyed from the catchment surface (generally a roof). You'll notice there are two elbows attached to the bottom. This feature is called a calming inlet and the purpose is to channel incoming water upward and prevent it from disturbing any material that may be lying on the bottom of the tank. Hopefully there won't be too much of this. Another rainwater harvesting best practice is to ensure that all water entering the tank is filtered and all openings sealed so that debris and unwanted pests can't enter.

Just to the right of the water inlet on the bottom of the tank is a submersible pump. Pumps can also be installed outside of the tank and for some applications gravity can be sufficient to get the water to where you want it to go.  In this installation, you can see there is a PVC outlet pipe attached to the top of the pump. Although the picture doesn't show it, the outlet is intended to exit the tank through a bulkhead fitting near the top. The bottom of the pump is connected to a floating inlet assembly which includes the translucent blue ribbed pipe, filter and round black float. This ensures that the pump draws only the cleanest water in the tank which can be found just below the surface.

Although it is difficult to see, if you look back at the top image there is another PVC pipe to the left of the inlet. This is the overflow outlet which is absolutely critical to include in every installation to ensure that we don't run into problems when rain is falling faster than we can use or store it.