After three and a half years of planning, work, revising, and more work, the rainwater collection system at Joshua Farm is completed (well, mostly done–at least usable!). A team of students from the Messiah College Collaboratory for Strategic Partnerships and Applied Research, led by Robert Clancy, work tirelessly to bring this dream to fruition. We had a dedication service on May 10 to celebrate and honor those who were involved, including Jaime Emberger (recently graduated chemistry major and student leader of the team), Erling Lervik (friend of Bob Clancy), John Myer, Professor Carl Erikson, Professor Jim Gustafson, Professor Terry Earhart, and many others who helped along the way. Thank you! The event even got some media coverage on WITF.
The system is pretty simple–gutters attached to the greenhouse divert rainwater to a sump pump in a sunken 50 gallon barrel. The water is pumped uphill through a underground pipe into two storage tanks with a total capacity of 4300 gallons. Each tank has a spigot so that a hose can be connected to our drip irrigation system. One tank is completely enclosed; the other has a wooden top with window screen below so that the stored water doesn’t become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
We don’t have a reliable way to measure water usage at the farm, but we think that this system will make a significant dent in the amount of municipal water we use, as well as reduce runoff from the greenhouse. Next time you’re at the farm, check it out!