Rainwater harvesting in the desert can save your plants and money

Posted at 7:04 PM, Jul 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-24 22:06:40-04

After a big storm, it's likely your backyard will be a muddy mess. But have you noticed that your plants are greener, cleaner and brighter than before?

It's not just because all of the dust gets washed off, but water conservation specialists say it's because rain water is a clean, salt-free source of water that is good for your plants — unlike the stuff that comes out of your tap that may contain a lot of salt.

Donna DiFrancesco, a water conservation coordinator with the City of Mesa said rain water harvesting was a no-brainer in the desert, not only because water was a precious commodity, but also because it could help you save on your water and waste water bills. 

Peggy Thomas of Mesa always saw green in her backyard after a good storm, not just with the lush plants but also the savings in her monthly bills.

"It's about $100 down in the hottest months," Thomas said.

She had quite the set up in her backyard; three rain water harvesting tanks.

Thomas estimated that for every inch of rain, she got about 0.65 gallons of water. She also had a set up on her roof, that directed the rain water down the gutter directly to her plants and fruit trees.

Thomas estimated for a 1,000 square foot roof she collected 650 gallons per inch of rain.

There was about two inches of water in her rain gauge after the weekend rains.

Thomas said she was amazed at how much water she was able to collect through rain water harvesting.

She has a blog about her garden. DiFrancesco said those interested in rain water harvesting could benefit from free classes offered by a local non-profit group.  You will also find information about rain water harvesting on their website.