Beating the drought: San Jose couples fills up rainwater collection tanks

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Just this month, one couple gathered 3,700 gallons of rainwater for use later. Not every home has a backyard or side-yard large enough to accommodate the large storage thanks. The water they've saved will help serve their long-term needs as this drought continues.

The green pointer on the gauge indicates these three interconnected storage tanks are full and it took only three rain events to accomplish that. Each one of the tanks holds 530 gallons. That's almost the equivalent of one CCF, the unit many water agencies use to measure monthly allotments.

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"We have tanks on this side of the house that are completely full, and the two big tanks over here behind us are 90 percent full," San Jose homeowner Martin Liss said.

Liss and Susan Zaslaw are very happy. It means they can use the rainfall to top off their swimming pool, which loses two inches a week and they use for exercise three times a week.

And it will help to irrigate Zaslaw's raised garden beds. The rain is taking care of the winter crops, but thirsty tomatoes and other summer crops will get rainwater during the dry months.

"I don't think it's possible to store too much. You can just empty it out in the garden here, even though the garden doesn't need it for growth, but it will refill the aquifers. You know the ground level sinks when you lose water from the aquifers, and we can help prevent that from happening," Zaslaw said.

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Their customized system cost $6,000, but contractor Brad Daniel of Rainsavers says a homeowner can start small with a $200 barrel and expanded over time.

"There's thousands and thousands of gallons that come off every roof. People don't realize a roof is such a big capture device, and all that rain, all that water comes down. And if you go out when it's raining hard and look at your downspouts near the ground where it comes out, you'll see a torrent of water coming out there," Daniel said.

But not for Liss and Zaslaw since their rainwater tanks are filling up fast.

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To learn how much water your city is required to cut back, click here. For water rebate information from Bay Area water suppliers, click here. You'll find tips about how to conserve water here and information on how to to report water wasters #WhereYouLive, here.
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