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Rainwater Harvesting for Your Home

Debbie Roland, Master Gardener

Are you catching your rainwater for use in your yard, beds or garden? Did you know that a 2,000 square foot roof will yield approximately 1200 gallons of water when we receive one inch of rain? This week the local news reported that we may not get rain for several months. But, it will rain again. This is the perfect time for you to install your own system.

Rainwater harvesting is legal in Texas and no permits are required. The State encourages it and it is economically feasible. Installation and maintenance are sales tax exempt in Texas. The form needed is available on the Comptroller’s site. You print it, fill it out and take it to the store when you buy what you need to set up a rainwater harvesting system.

The State of Texas is predicting that our population will double in the next fifty years. The amount of water in lakes and underground aquifers is limited and we all need to find alternative ways to water the property we are responsible for. Of course, when planning a landscape use trees and plants that require the least amount of water possible. Next, when they do require water make sure that you use only what is required. Rainwater is a perfect alternative to using city water or your water well which lowers the water level in the aquifer.

Rainwater is perfect for our plants, since it contains no chemicals. I think we have all experienced what an inch of rain can do for our yards and gardens. A rainwater harvesting system can allow you to use that water not just once, but many times in the growing season.

Rainwater can be stored in large and small barrels and above and below ground cisterns. Some are gravity fed and do not require a pump.

If you are eager to get started, you can learn more from Texas A&M AgriLife at The Texas Water Development Board site has a Texas Rainwater Harvesting Guide available as well.

If you have questions, please call the AgriLife office in Odessa at 498-4071 or in Midland at 686-4700 for more gardening information. Additional information is available at and


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