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Decode the code: How to save water with rainwater harvesting

Help conserve water and lower your bills with a rainwater collection system in your backyard.


Make the most of the wet hot Tampa Bay summer.

Photo courtesy of Canva

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It’s not news that it’s been a hot, dry summer. DFW has seen a meager 1.25 inches of rain in the last two months and the sun has scorched lawns across the city. We’re here to decode the city’s guidelines about rainwater harvesting and help you capitalize on the scarce resource, not to mention save money on your water bill.

What’s rainwater harvesting?

Building a rainwater harvesting system is an easy way to provide non-potable water for your plants. The best part: After some small start-up costs, it’s free — and we love free.

The system collects water off non-permeable surfaces like your roof and funnels it into a storage chamber like a rain barrel or cistern to be used when rain isn’t in the forecast — i.e. this summer. A general rule of thumb: One inch of rain produces about a half gallon for every square foot of roof.

What’s wrong with using my sprinkler?

Nothing, as long as your sprinkler is functioning properly and you’re following local regulations. Fort Worth has year-round watering requirements that limit irritation system and sprinkler use to twice per week.

If you live within city limits, the water pumped through your sprinkler system is filtered drinking water + uninformed watering practices can put a strain on the water supply and drive up your bill.

Meanwhile, Texas Tax Code allows property tax exemptions for conservation initiatives like rainwater harvesting systems, and Texas Property Code protects them in residential zones.

How do I get started?

The Tarrant Regional Water District offers discounted rain barrels and hosts free online classes to teach you how to capture the most water. Register now for the next event on Saturday, Sept. 23.

Save Tarrant Water also provides resources like tips for saving money, weekly watering advice, and connecting with green professionals.

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