Sample Projects

Residential Potable

This new house was built in area with poor wells, and the owners decided to use rainwater for their indoor and outdoor water supply.


System features:


 Roof Collection Area; 3,100 sq.ft.
 20,000 Gallon Cement Cistern under Garage
 Sentry One Gutter cover and snow rail
 Water Cleaned at downspout with Australian Leaf Eater
 Pipe style underground First Flush Diverter
 Graf Filter
 Gravity flow to Transfer tank
 Pumped back up to cistern
 Aeration System in Cistern
 Particle Filters and UV Disinfection



This rainwater catchment system was designed for a new home still under construction on Salt Spring Island, BC. The home is a healthy rammed earth house built by Terra Firma Builders Ltd.and the owners were committed to the idea of using a sustainable source of water to supplement their piped water supply. They are also looking for long term cost saving as piped water rates increase.


System features:


 Double-ended underground first flush diverter
 Custom designed all-in-one debris pails
 12,000 gallon cistern landscaped to disappear
 2′ x 8′ cedar roof structure on cistern



Potable water supply 100% rainwater & Emergency Cross Connection to well water


This rainwater catchment system was designed for a home and B&B on Galiano Island, BC. The well water has extremely high levels of iron, magnesium, sulfur and salt, making it unusable. A seawater desalination system was considered as the capital costs are similar to a rainwater catchment system, but has a much higher operation/maintenance cost. The owners had a preference for natural vs. technical solutions as well as a large roof catchment area.


System features:


 50% ashphalt shingle & 50% flat torch-on roofing, 2,500 sq ft roof area, thus water quality challenge.
 Small leaf traps & sealed standpipes to carry water under deck
 Catchment/transport pipe under decks incorporate debris pigtails & clean-out plugs
 First flush diverter rejects first flush of water over 3/4 mm (0.05 inch)
 Water pumped 400 ft (60 vert. ft) in shallow trench (winter drain back prevents freeze-up)
 Stored in 15,000 gallon cistern, 17’6″ diameter x 10 ft tall (shown at left)
 Uses gravity flow from cistern to BioSand filter + 600 gallon day tank
 Electronics to control flows, protect pumps & limit amount of well water supply
 BioSand, particle filter and ultraviolet light disinfection system



Following is a description straight from the home owner regarding his rainwater catchment system.


“Unlimited drinking on the west coast: rain water collection works in real life.”


“We had planned the water supply for the new house around a well. Although both neighbours have good wells, we drilled and hit a fetid and clouded salt spring instead, whose water impressed even the lab with its un-potability. Short term disaster, but long term gain: we turned to The Rainwater Connection for help in finding another source of water, and ended up with a fully functional rain water harvesting system designed by Bob to meet the needs of our three-bedroom home year-round. We have been deeply pleased with the results. The system is robust, being gravity fed. It is simple, as it uses no moving parts except for the pump that pressurizes the house water system. It provides top quality water, a result of four efficiently designed stages of roof washing, debris catching, screening, and UV treatment. It has no chlorination, water softening, smelly water, corroding appliances, or scaly pipes. For our one-storey house, it involves about the same amount of maintenance as washing and vacuuming your car once a month. And last but not least, even conservative cost analysis shows a payback period for the system that is measured in years, not decades, meaning that the cost of water then becomes a few per cent of what it is in most municipal systems.”


“And it’s all thanks to one of the last free, untaxed, and for now almost unlimited commodities on the west coast of British Columbia: distilled water from the sky. It is clear that we cannot possibly use all the rain water available during a year’s total precipitation at our location. Everyone’s mileage will vary, but we will not run out of house water unless the climate changes to make the “wet coast” a desert like the Okanagan, something unlikely to happen along the Pacific Ocean for some time to come, no matter what the speed of climate change (and whatever its causes). Our present storage was designed by Bob to make it through about 100 days without precipitation. We know that if we need more water, for example for more ambitious gardening or even to just sleep better knowing it’s sitting there, all we need is more storage; the collection system can provide much more, as shown by the overflow state of our cistern as early as November this season. So we’ve got plans for a wood-fired hot tub: more free water fun.”


“Are we sold on rain water collection? No prizes for guessing the correct answer. Using rain as the water in your life falls into the same deeply satisfying category as using only wood to heat your home: you’re off the grid, or barely using it. Yes, these options are most easily chosen in rural settings, and when it comes to wood smoke, emissions become a problem beyond a fairly low population density. But anyone with a roof over their head can collect rain water in the extraordinary environment of coastal British Columbia and make it work.”


Philippe Erdmer, Salt Spring Island


Residential Non-Potable

System features:


 Roof collection area: 322sf (30m2) – half of garage roof
 Water storage capacity: 3,200 imp gal (14.55m3), 2 Premier 1660 poly tanks
 Open gutters
 Diverter/flusher valve and uphill catchment pipe
 Tuffy filter in tank top basket
 Winterized manifold pipe connecting bottoms of the two tanks



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
 Self-built with 6 hours of design & construction supervision
 2,350 sq ft catchment from house & barn
 Leaf trap, pipe debris traps, and filters
 No filters or first flush diverter
 6,600 gallons in 3 poly cisterns
 Jet pump & pressure tank for distribution

Commercial Non-Potable


Rainwater is collected from two roofs of the waste transfer buildings to be used for outdoor cleaning and irrigation. (Used with the permission of the Regional District of Nanaimo Solid Waste Services.)


System features:


 Roof collection Area: partial roof collection area from two buildings with roof area over 6,000 sq.ft.
 Wall mounted catchment system with First Flush Diverter and Cleanwater Box™
 Calming Inlets into Norwesco 5,000 US gallon tank
 Overflow to catch basin



Rainwater is collected from two roofs of the waste transfer buildings to be used for outdoor cleaning and irrigation. (Used with the permission of the Regional District of Nanaimo Solid Waste Services.)


System features:


 Catchment system with Debris Box and Uphill Catchment Pipe Bushman 620 BLT
 First Flush Diverter to Storm Drain
 Seasonal plug-in Grundfos Pump
 Supplementary piped water supply to top up tank

Commercial Potable


System features:


 Emergency water for fire control
 Roof collection area: 1351 square feet
 Debris boxes
 Mesh screen filters
 First flush diverter
 Poly tank used to reduce well water silt
 Pumped to steel cistern, 16,300 imp gal.
 Water Treatment particle filters and NSF/ANSI – 55 Class A water disinfection system


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