Water Collection System

Author: Peter Reiquam, Yale Class of ‘84­­­
Location: Seattle, WA

The Action

In Georgetown, one of Seattle’s oldest neighborhoods, Peter Reiquam has installed rain barrels to help increase the resilience of his water supply.

“[Here] are a few pictures of my rain barrel collection,” writes Peter. “This is not a gray water system, we only use this water for irrigation of garden and potted plants and as a backup supply of water in the event of an earthquake or other disaster that might interrupt the supply of municipal water. As you can see, the barrels are elevated on galvanized steel pipe racks to improve head pressure, but we also use an electric pump to improve the flow when necessary.”

Environmental Impact

Peter lives just blocks from the Duwamish River which feeds directly into Elliott Bay and Puget Sound a few miles to the north. King County is currently building a CSO (Combined Sewer Overflow) facility between Peter’s house and the river which will hold and treat excess runoff during major rain events and discharge clean water into the river. Peter’s rain barrels are helping limit runoff into this facility, while at the same time lessening his reliance on municipal water.

“What flows from the land affects ocean life,” says Peter. “Each home has an impact and everyone’s consideration of our waste effects the global water cycles, improves ocean life, weather, and our sustainability.”

How to Get Involved

Learn more about designing a rain barrel system here.