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Vesuvius Bay Road, Salt Spring Island

Agricultural water - supplements piped water

Snow Rails

Snow rail

This rainwater catchment system was designed to retrofit a residential home on Salt Spring Island, BC. The owner is an active retiree who was looking for a challenging do-it-yourself project. The owner decided to use rainwater to protect the extensive gardens from the chlorine in the piped municipal water, to save money on rising water rates and to be a good ecological neighbour.

System Features

  • Snow rail to make roof & gutter cleaning safer (shown right)
  • Self-built with 6 hours of design & construction supervision
  • 2,350 sq ft catchement from house & barn
  • Leaf trap, pipe debris traps, and filters
  • No filters or first flush diverter
  • 6,600 gallons in 3 poly cisterns (shown below)
  • Jet pump & pressure tank for distribution
Poly Cisterns

Poly cisterns

Following is a direct quote from the property owner:

"Many people don't want to face the fact that water will be a serious problem on this island. Since water is essential to my life – I decided to invest $5,000.00 and my labour to ensure a supply of water for my garden or for domestic use in times of drought. The garden produces a wide range of tomatoes, vegetables, and fruits including a fine crop of apples (MacIntosh, Gravenstein, and Red Northern Spy). Our golden plum tree held a bumper crop this year and the large crop of strawberries were eaten fresh or made into jam. The three cherry trees were left for the birds.

With some professional advice, I developed a plan to take advantage of this natural resource. I installed fascia boards under all my eaves, and large eave troughs. These were linked by down pipes and plastic pipe through coarse and fine filters to three 2,400 gallon tanks. An electric pump and pressure tank pumped the water from the lower tank to a soaker hose in the garden. By the beginning of March, my system was complete. By July, I had 7,000 gallons in my tanks."


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