ARCSA President David Crawford Discusses Rainwater Harvesting – Past, Present, and Future

Although various forms of rainwater harvesting have been used for thousands of years, as an organized industry, it is still in its infancy. At present, no national standards are in place regulating its use, although various states and municipalities have begun promulgating laws concerning how rainwater may (or may not) be used.

The rainwater harvesting industry has a national organization, the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association. It is presently headed by David Crawford, president of Rainwater Management Solutions in Salem, VA.

A Word From the President

David Crawford, President of ARCSA

David Crawford, President of ARCSA

“The field is really ramping up,” says Crawford. “Actually, it has been over the last four or five years. You see EPA pushing it, localities pushing it. It’s an opportunity to collect water from off of roofs, and in fact reuse that water, keep it onsite, which eliminates a huge portion of your stormwater runoff.”

There are a variety of methods of collecting rainwater—rain barrels, aboveground or underground cisterns, and other collection devices. Such harvested rainwater is frequently used for irrigation, but can also be a source of water for flushing toilets, washing vehicles, and, in some cases, for drinking water.

Whether these systems can offer a financial payback for homeowners has been a point of contention, but Crawford insists that it is possible.

“When you look at the value of water, with people now getting $300, $400, and $500 water bills, the return on investment is much better on residential than it had been in the past, based on the cost of water going up, the water that you’re saving, and the new rooftop tax or impervious surfaces tax that a lot of municipalities are charging now,” he says.

Crawford notes that a number of communities are now offering rebates or reduced stormwater fees for homeowners who install a rainwater harvesting system or who disconnect their gutters from the stormwater system… read more.

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