Estimates vary, but according to the U.S. Geological Survey, each of us uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water every day.
Where does our clean water come from? In the Town of Boone, drinking water comes from the South Fork of the New River. But outside town limits, water comes from wells or springs. Because groundwater is under our feet and not in our view, it is easy to take for granted. Turning on the faucet has never been easier, but it can take decades, or even millennia, to replenish groundwater.
Rainwater is a high quality source of water available to us. Rainwater that is collected on roofs and stored appropriately represents a sustainable source of water. In addition to meeting water conservation needs, cisterns and other water harvesting systems have an important application in Low Impact Development as an innovative stormwater management practice.
Leaders from the town of Boone are interested in smart growth and Low Impact Development techniques for land and water conservation. Teaming up with the NCSU Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department and the Watauga County Cooperative Extension, the town received grant funding from a DENR, EPA 319 to install Rainwater Harvesting Systems.
The Town of Boone installed a new roof on the salt building, gutters and pipes to get the water to the cistern, and the concrete foundation that the cistern sits upon. The cistern is buried about 5 ft in the ground for regulating temperatures and has a pump station to get the water where it needs to go. NCSU BAE has installed a data logger in the cistern to collect water usage data every 10 minutes. This data will be collected for a year and then analyzed to show how much water the town has saved!
Saving water one drop at a time because EVERY DROP COUNTS! That’s the town of Boone’s mantra these days. And every drop is harvested off the towns salt building for use throughout the year. Eric Gustaveson, Facilities Maintenance Superintendent for the Town of Boone sees the benefits of project and is currently looking into other sites around town to harvest rain water. The cistern is currently hooked up for three use areas; making brine in the winter to de-ice roads, wash trucks, and fill up the street sweeper. The town has steadily been using the rainwater since August when it was all connected.
The town fire truck is shown filling up 2,000 gallons of water from the cistern.