By now you’re probably aware of or a practitioner of rainwater harvesting — the act of collecting rainwater, usually with a rain barrel or two, and using the water to tend to your lawn and/or garden — but have you heard of rainwater hoarding?
Neither had I until the Los Angeles Times profiled Jerry Block, a retired anesthesiologist whose intricate backyard rainwater harvesting setup is capable of collecting around 20,000 gallons of rainwater a year. That’s a whole lot of rainwater.

It may seem excessive but self-sufficient Block isn’t just tending to an ordinary residential garden. His goal is to completely irrigate, for an entire year, an acre of land at his Monte Sereno, California, home that he uses for food production. Block hopes to collect enough rainwater during rainy season with his system of four giant holding tanks and special gutters so that using non-rainwater on his crops isn’t even an option during the rest of the year. 

Says Block, who views his set-up as a “patriotic act” with geo-political significance:

We sized our system according to how much water we’d need to grow enough trees, fruits and vegetables for two people. We get about 15 inches of rain, and we live on an acre of land, so that works out to about 20,000 gallons of irrigation water per year.
As of now, Block only uses the collected rainwater for irrigation purposes but he's entertaining the idea of using it for toilets and possibly sitting up an inexpensive filtration system so that it can be used for bathing and drinking as well.
Block’s rainwater system was made by Gutterglove and Rain Harvesting Systems to the tune of $29,000. If you had the money, physical space, and didn’t mind the aesthetics of giant tanks on your property, would you install a similarly massive rainwater collection system for use around the lawn and garden and possibly in the home?

Via [LA Times]

Photos: Robert Lenney

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Extreme residential rainwater harvesting
Meet 'Rain Man' Jerry Block of Mount Sereno, Calif. whose backyard rainwater harvesting system can collect 20,000 gallons annually.