Rainwater harvesting paves the way for water conservation

Rainwater harvesting paves the way for water conservation
George's 1,000-gallon rainwater barrel
George's 1,000-gallon rainwater barrel

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Cecilia George planted her first seeds when she was 12 years old, and has since brought many more flowers and plants to full-bloom.

“I think gardening puts you in touch with the rhythms of nature,” George said. “Every plant is beautiful and every plant is interesting to me.”

Her green thumb does more than just tend to the needs of her garden. It harvests the rainwater that brings it to life.

“We have millions of gallons of rain running out of our roofs and running into the streets, and it seems like such a waste not to use that,” George said.

George is one of 43 classified “Master Gardeners” in Lubbock County and has been harvesting rainwater for eight years. Her entire home is designed to save rain – from the shallow riverbeds on her front yard to the 1,000-gallon rainwater barrel in her garden.

“The water runs down the roof down the gutter, into a pipe that goes directly into the rain barrel,” George said. “There's also a screen on top of the rain barrel to filter anything. [My] one-horsepower tank enables me to have pressure, so I can actually attach a sprinkler system or drip irrigation system to it.”

Vikram Baliga, Texas A&M Agrilife's Lubbock County Horticulture Agent, said that harvested rainwater is better in quality compared to water that comes from the ground or the municipal system.

“It contains nitrogen,” Baliga said. “It's pure, and so it's better for your plants and they tend to grow a little bit better.”

Baliga also said that a collection system can be as simple as setting a row of trash cans under the eaves of your roof and as advanced as George's $2,000 barrel. In a place as dry as West Texas, rainwater harvesting is also an effort that paves the way for conservation.

“I just believe that we need to be careful with our rain and save it,” George said “We always talk about saving for a rainy day. We should save it for a dry day around here.”

To learn more about rainwater harvesting and the Lubbock County Master Gardeners' other efforts, visit their website at