Houston rainwater-harvesting training for professionals set March 11

Mitchell Physics Building rainwater-harvested irrigated landscape

A rainwater-harvested irrigated garden on the third floor of the Mitchell Physics Building. Rainwater harvesting equipment mounted on the building on the Texas A&M University campus at College Station irrigates all of the building’s landscape. (Texas AgriLife Extension Service photo)

HOUSTON — Rainwater harvesting might be one of the few ways to irrigate your landscape if water restrictions come into play because of drought, said a Texas AgriLife Extension Service expert.

“Not many people realize this now, but most of Texas is currently under drought conditions, and come summer, water restrictions may be implemented,” said Brent Clayton, AgriLife Extension assistant with the Texas A&M biological and agricultural engineering department. “As far as I know, most localities will let people use harvested rainwater water for irrigation during times of restrictions.”

Rainwater harvesting is also a cost-efficient means to control flooding if the situation turns around, Clayton said.

To respond to requests from professional irrigators, AgriLife Extension will offer a one-day training in collecting and using rainwater on March 11 at the AgriLife Extension office in Harris County, 3033 Bear Creek Drive, Houston.

Participants will be charged $150 if they preregister, or $175 for same-day registration.
There will be 90 percent refund for those who preregister but who cancel before the day of the program. The registration fee will include lunch and a new manual published by AgriLife Extension titled, “Rainwater Harvesting: System Planning.”

“This 200-plus-page manual is an extensive guide for those looking to plan a rainwater harvesting system,” Clayton said.

Though larger commercial systems will be discussed, the focus of the training will be on rainwater for use in the landscape and home, Clayton said.

Harvested rainwater at this Denton County Government office is used for on-site irrigation. (Texas AgriLife Extension Service photo)

Registration will start at 8:30 a.m., with the presentation beginning at 9 a.m. The first presentation will be a brief introduction of the trainers and their backgrounds. Next will be a “big picture” overview of rainwater harvesting methods used throughout the state. Sustainability as well as economics will be discussed.

“Sizing of Rainwater Harvesting System Components” will review the basic components of a rainwater harvesting system, including information on how to size a storage tank, cover designs and conveyance-pipe systems.

After lunch, “Methods to Improve Stored Water Quality” will cover selecting roofing materials, gutter screening, first-flush diversion design, basket screens, connection of multiple tanks and dealing with overflows.

“Pumps and Controls” will review various commercial pumps and control systems.

In “Treatment of Harvested Water,” AgriLife Extension experts will explain what kind of treatment is needed for collected water depending on whether it is for potable or non-potable use.

The session titled “Maintenance” will cover maintenance of filtering and disinfection devices, as well as tanks, gutters and rooftops.

The training will wind up at about 4:30 p.m. with an opportunity for participants to review, evaluate and ask questions.

To register, go to the AgriLife Extension conference services website at https://agrilifevents.tamu.edu and search for “rainwater.” Alternately participants may call 979-845-2604 to register.

For more information, contact Justin Mechell at 979-845-1395 or JKMechell@ag.tamu.edu.

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