Sonoma Ecology Center is working with the community to adapt to historic drought conditions. Its latest project is rainwater harvesting system at Flowery Elementary School that serves as a demonstration project to explore the feasibility of replicating this system at other schools.
Steven Lee, Senior Scientist who, together with his team, monitors the Sonoma Creek Watershed, had implemented a 70,000 rainwater harvesting system on his property. This year, he brought his experience and expertise to carry out a rainwater catchment system at Flowery Elementary School.
Over two long weekends in November, the team installed four 5,000-gallon tanks to the roof catchments of Flowery classroom buildings 5.6 and 5.7. Collectively, these tanks hold up to 20,000 gallons of water at any given time.
With this system, rainwater that falls on the roofs of two portable classroom buildings is collected in four 5,000-gallon water tanks for the school’s educational garden use, rather than becoming stormwater runoff. This system will allow the school to conserve water in the rainy season to use for the dry season, thereby relieving some pressure from our local water district and serving as a demonstration to elementary school students of water conservation in practice.
This project is not the first rain capture demonstration project Sonoma Ecology Center has carried out. Right at its Sonoma Garden Park, visitors can see in action a variety of rain catchment techniques, from rain gardens, roof water catchment (like the one at Flowery Elementary School), and permeable parking lots.