As water becomes an increasingly crucial part of long term city planning, Parksville council heard a presentation about rainwater collection.
Among talk of Parksville becoming a Blue Community in support of water rights, and budgeting for a new multi-million dollar river water intake and treatment facility, Bob Burgess of Gulf Island Rainwater Collection spoke of the benefits and cost efficiency of rainwater harvesting.
He said a typical system catches about 85 per cent of the rain that hits a roof, meaning that in this climate a 1,000 square-foot roof could save more than 70,000 litres per year.
The water collected is considered non-potable or “grey” meaning it can be collected from any surface and doesn’t have to be treated for use for irrigation and flushing toilets, meaning there is almost no maintenance once the system is set up.
While it can be complicated and expensive to re-plumb a house to use rain water to flush toilets, it is relatively simple to build new houses with that capability.
There was a lot of support around the council table for the concept in general, including councillors Marc Lefebvre who has promoted the idea in the past, and Peter Morrison, who said he just purchased a system as his wife’s birthday request.
Asked about the payback timeline, Burgess pointed out there are many benefits including conserving water, providing an important emergency supply.
While there are many variables in the costs, such as the storage tank size, the average payback time is around seven or eight years, he said.
Mayor Chris Burger pointed out that rainwater collection systems are becoming great marketing tools for new home builders.