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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Collecting Rain Water

A tropical rainstorm experienced from atop a penthouse is quite daunting. The wind howls through my house like the sound effects in a ghost movie. My frangipani tree, with its crown of deep green leaves embattled by strong winds, bends and twists. Jagged forks of lightning on the horizon can be seen in frightening sequence, followed by claps and growls of thunder. Sheets of rain crash onto my rooftop garden bruising the tenderest seedlings and leaves. I used to fight the urge to go hide under the blanket. No longer. I am quite used to it by now and actually rejoice because I have discovered the joys of collecting rain water.

I am quite amazed at the amount of water that I can collect in the torrential rains of a tropical storm. The outpour lasts 30 minutes to an hour, in which time, I can collect up to 100 litres of water. It is enough to water my plants and flush the toilets over 2 days. Of course, it's only enough if we follow the rule of flush i.e., "If it's yellow, let mellow. If it's brown, flush it down." And I feel like a good environmentalist, recycling precious resources, growing plants and living simply. Though of course, I would absolutely die if I had to live without air con, which by the way plays a very important part in my water recycling efforts. The water the air con extracts from the air is channeled into a pail in the garden, and added to the big pail of rain water. I wish I had had the foresight to design water collection points for all my air cons. Technically, that water is distilled water from the air. Very clean. I could even use it to wash clothes! Still, I manage to collect about 20 litres of water a night from my air con.

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