Watering: Collecting Roof RunoffNew England, like much of the country, has suffered recently from several years of drought, often enduring restrictions on watering lawns and gardens (as Winchester did this past summer). Because of this, Kim and Bruce decided to install a rainwater collection system, which will provide them with a backup watering supply for their plants and lawn. Recently, Roger Cook and Richard Trethewey installed three 375-gallon polyethylene storage tanks in a small basement room. "Everywhere else in the world, people collect rainwater," says Richard. "It makes sense in Massachusetts, too."

The tanks will be connected to the gutter downspouts off the back of the house. Roger and Richard calculated that, in a year with normal amounts of precipitation, 18,000 gallons of rain hit the relatively small 20-by-40-foot back roof. Uncollected, the water runs down the driveway and into the city storm drains. "We're going to store some of that for the weeks — or even months — when we get zero inches of rain," says Richard. The 1,125 gallons in the tanks is not meant to be the sole source for the thirsty landscaping, but rather to provide a supplement during long rainless periods. "Last summer's watering ban killed a lot of lawns, trees, and shrubs," says Roger. "Now they'll have backup if it happens again."

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