Rather than paying to have an unwanted swimming pool removed, it is possible to convert it to a rainwater harvesting tank and then cover with soil and sod for an attractive and environmentally sustainable lawn.
Since 1822, an average of one drought every ten years has occurred somewhere in Texas. This photo is White Rock Lake in the 7-year ‘drought of record’ from 1951-1957. The most recent drought of 2006 caused $1 billion losses to Texas agriculture; some local lake levels were down 17.5 feet.
The Dallas-Fort Worth area averages 32” of rain per year. The average rain event is 1”, so it makes sense to store water—significant rain events are few and far between.
Here is one example of how to calculate your collection/storage needs:
Texas A &M has an online calculator for rainwater harvesting that is very handy.
Thinking about giving up on the old pool? If your catchment area is 4,000 square feet –including roof, plus some lawn, driveways or patios –and you have 15,000 gallons of storage, then your system can potentially collect 76,800 gallons of water per year here in Dallas. Depending on how much water your landscape needs, you may not have to use any city water for irrigation all year. Though your tank will be drawn down in dry periods, it will quickly refill in our summer gullywashers.
Since the average Dallas household spends 60% of its summer water bill on landscape irrigation, this can turn into real savings. We can help you create a non-thirsty landscape, with plants that are beautiful and lush–not just cactus!–that will not demand too much water.
As a water conservation method, landscape watering restrictions are becoming increasingly popular with cities. Fines for watering during restricted hours range between $250 and $2,000 per incident. In Dallas, Texas a surcharge is assessed for water usage over 15,000 gallons per month, which is common for residents who water 1/2 acre or more with traditional spray heads on a regular schedule.
Texas’ population of about 24.3 million is expected to hit about 45.5 million by 2060, and the water supply can’t come close to keeping pace. As water becomes scarce relative to the population, water prices rise, making pools more costly to maintain.
The price of water is increasing—sometimes dramatically—throughout the world. Over the past five years, municipal water rates have increased by an average of 27 percent in the United States, 32 percent in the United Kingdom, 45 percent in Australia, 50 percent in South Africa, and 58 percent in Canada.
To maximize your return on investment in a rainwater collection system, you can use the collected water for flushing toilets and doing laundry, as well as irrigation. It takes a little fancier filtration, but rainwater is also a great option for the whole household — drinking and bathing as well — in rural areas where drilling a well or getting city water is cost-prohibitive. Many people set up simple tanks off a shed or barn roof to provide water for wildlife.
Fortunately the days of poorly designed and constructed rainwater systems are coming to an end. A competent rainwater installation company is certified by ARCSA (the national rainwater organization), offers a warranty on their entire system, and can design a system that meets local codes and industry standards, which always include adequate barriers to vectors like mosquitoes and vermin.