New City NY - Each year in the US we remove a lot more water from the ground than we replace. Even here in the Hudson Valley, water is a regional priority. It seems strange how we can have both flooding problems and droughts in the same region. Poor site water management and site planning is a primary reason.
We can do better. We need to develop and redevelop our sites and communities to reduce rainfall runoff. We need to redesign and rebuild our buildings to use less water.
One of the latest strategies to be implemented here at MSA, as part of our quest to be the greenest existing building in Rockland County, is rainwater harvesting. Around sixty percent of the water we use in our office buildings is literally flushed down the toilet. Based upon our initial calculations enough waterfalls on our roof each month to flush all our toilets year round. Using potable water for toilet flushing and watering our landscapes is a waste of both water and energy. Rainwater and storm water harvesting can help reduce our potable water use and reduce flooding.
We installed a 1000 gallon tank underground that will store enough water to supply our building for approximately two months. Some filtering is all that is needed to use this water for non-potable uses. A pump, pressure tank are needed and local health codes require a backflow preventer at the connection to the building's potable water supply as a backup.
Our 1000 gallon tank fills up quickly. Only 3 inches of rain is needed. We filled the tank twice in two weeks in March with some of those early storms. Our area averages almost 4 inches of rainfall each month according to www.worldclimate.com. We expect a full tank should serve us for about two months should we enter a dry spell.