PROJECT SPOTLIGHT: CONSERVING WATER WITH RAINWATER CATCHMENT TANKS
For centuries, people have captured rainwater for later use. This practice can be beneficial for environmental conservation, as well as for households and commercial operations. The Central Coast of California has wet winters and dry summers. During dry times, water can be scarce. Exploring creative water management techniques is important for the sustainability of our communities. The Estuary Program, the California Conservation Corp (CCC), NOAA, and Cal Poly partnered to install a rainwater harvesting project at Cal Poly’s Beef Center.
The system is designed to reduce the use of wells located near Pennington Creek during the dry summer months. With continued use, this project should result in increased freshwater flow in the creek for steelhead trout and other wildlife. Maintaining water flow in creeks like Pennington that have historically good steelhead habitat is crucial for fish survival. Finished in July of 2012, the project collects and stores rainwater run-off from the buildings and shade structures at the Beef Center. The system has the potential to produce over 280,000 gallons of rainwater during an average rain year and can supply water for cattle through four to six dry-weather months.