Jason Garvey has a saying, “There is no green without blue.” His company, Portland Purple Water helps homeowners who want to take one more step toward green living by incorporating water conservation.
Rainwater catchement dates back to the first human beings who needed water to live, but didn’t have spigots. Jason says, “It’s ok if a homeowner doesn’t know a thing about conserving rain water before meeting us. They’re not alone. Many don’t know how rain barrels work or how to safely use the water. The main point is that every drop of water counts.”
Rain barrels are a simple way to get acquainted with rainwater catchement principles, as Portland Purple Water was able to demonstrate to school kids at Hollydale Elementary School.
The City of Gresham contacted Jason’s company about a raised bed garden at the school. Getting water to the site was a challenge. Could Portland Purple Water help?
So the company designed and built a 2,500 gallon cistern system for the garden. The overflow from the cistern feeds a newly installed raingarden. So where once there was a downspout that drained rainwater directly into the stormwater system, there’s now a complete ecologically friendly rainwater path from rooftop to garden.
Besides engineering a solution for redirecting too much water to a place that received too little water, Ryan envisioned this as a demonstrative teaching moment. “I thought it would be great to create an interactive element to give these water conservation concepts more impact. So we designed a bicycle-powered water pump. We named the bike ‘Purple Thunder’ and donated it to the school.” Now the kids can water their garden by pedaling.
Because for most homes, rainwater collection begins at the rooftop, Portland Purple Water is a full-service gutter company in addition to designing and building rainwater catchment systems, cisterns, barrels, and pumps. It also assists with installing raingardens.
Rainwater Catchement Is the Oldest Form of Water Conservation
Who is most likely to have interest in water catchement systems? First, it’s organic gardeners. “There is a eureka moment when they realize that using chlorinated, chloraminated, flouridated, and mineral heavy water is opposed to the rest of their gardening principles,” Jason says. “Rainwater is the answer. We help people understand, connect, and protect their watershed by maintaining their stormwater.”
Next are homeowners with specific problems like water damage or flooding, erosion, excessive water bills, and damaged gutters. Taming these age-old man vs. nature (or man vs. the utility company) issues can be accomplished by incorporating existing technology. But Jason says trends for the future of his industry include seamless incorporation of rainwater catchment in new home construction.
“From a product standpoint, there are massive amounts of innovation occurring right now. Homeowners should keep in mind that all the tools for water conservation through rainwater catchment already exist. This isn’t some green future that we have to innovate to achieve. We can all participate in water conservation now.”