Rainwater Harvesting

This Aquascape pondless waterfall looks great in the landscape!


When you think of rain water harvesting, which of the following images comes to your mind?

Bubbling Rock

Rainwater Harvesting can be accomplished with an Aquascape RainXChange system to provide water to your water feature or your irrigation system.

Pondless Waterfalls are another option to create an aesthetically pleasing option for rainwater harvesting

Pondless Waterfalls and fountain pieces are ways to create an aesthetically pleasing option for rainwater harvesting.

Or a "traditional" way to collect and store rain water using large unsightly containers.

Or a “traditional” way to collect and store rain water using large unsightly containers.

Now that you have seen different ways to harvest rainwater, what would you prefer to have in your back yard or the large rain barrel?

Rainwater Harvesting

Reasons why rainwater harvesting should be happening in Des Moines, Iowa and beyond

Water is quickly becoming an “endangered species” on our blue planet.  Urban growth increases storm water runoff, which in turn harms natural waterways.  All life requires water for survival.  Becoming aware of the current state of our environmental condition is the first step in identifying viable solutions to ensure clean and healthy water for future generations.

  •  Local water sources such as lakes, reservoirs and groundwater continue to decline despite regular rain events.
  • Demand is becoming greater than the supply and the rains that do fall on our ground are lost.
  • Rainwater is actually flowing away from the area it falls on due to development.
  • Water cannot soak into asphalt, concrete or shingles. It flows very quickly off of these surfaces and in the process it carries a variety of pollutants from dust and dirt to oils, fertilizers and pesticides.
  • This mixture flows quickly into storm sewers and in some cases, ponds and streams.
  • Highly developed areas can have 50% or more surface area covered by impervious surfaces forcing water away from the area where it’s needed.
  • Increased water velocity strips the aquatic vegetation from the shores exposing the soil to subsequent erosion and habitat loss.
  • According to the EPA, urban runoff is the number one cause of pollution in coastal environments.
    • Almost 50% of our stream miles, 45% of lake acres and 35% of estuary and bay square miles surveyed by the EPA are considered below the standards for fishing and swimming.
  • As rainwater run-off is carried away it does not have the opportunity to soak into the soil or groundwater reserves so our aquifers continue to lose water and new water is not coming in.
  • Wells throughout the country are going dry or have to be lowered to access the lower water levels.

Did You Know

  • One inch of rainfall on a 2,000 square foot residential roof generates 1,250 gallons of water that can be reused.
  • That same roof in a region receiving 30 inches of annual rainfall generates 41,000 gallons of reusable water.
  • The average U.S. household with a 10,000 square foot lot uses up to 3,000 gallons of water weekly for landscape irrigation.
  • Running a sprinkler for 2 hours can use up to 500 gallons of water.
  • Seventy percent of water used at home is used outdoors.
  • 66,175 gallons of water are used outdoors per household, per year.

Benefits of Reusing Rainwater

Why let good water go to waste when you can reuse it for another purpose?  The benefits of harvesting rainwater are numerous, but some of the more prominent advantages include:

  • Reduce water bills including city storm sewer charges
  • Alleviate demand on municipal systems
  • Avoid strict watering schedules
  • Improved landscape growth
  • Reduce flooding and erosion
  • Efficient use of a valuable resource – water

How do we Rainwater Harvest in Des Moines and Iowa? 


The Aquascape RainXChange System. 

Aquascape RainXChange System Diagram

This is how the Aquascape RainXChange System works. All of the man made components are hidden leaving you with a beautiful, sustainable water garden!

Before you can install a rainwater harvesting system you must decide what you will used the captured water for. Common uses include

  • Irrigation for your lawn and landscape beds
  • Washing your car, deck, or patio
  • topping of water features, pools and hot tubs
  • toilet and laundry water supply

Once the water usage is decided you can determine how big your collection basin will need to be.

This highlights where the downspout filter is used in the RainXchange system.

The first stage of the rainwater harvesting system is capturing the water using the downspout Filter.  This filter is designed to sit buried at the base of the downspout   extension and disguised using decorative stone & gravel.  The main objective of the filter is to remove the large and small suspended debris from the rainwater before it  is sent to the water storage basin.   There are a number of other styles of downspout filters, also commonly called first flush devices.  One of the design goals of any Aquascape filter is to try to incorporate the filters into their surroundings rather than be a focal point.The Downspout Filter is connected to the water storage basin using corrugated drain pipe and utilizes gravity to move the water from the base of the downspout to  the location of the water storage basin.

overview basinThe size of the water storage basin is based on the sites water use requirements.   The modular design of the AquaBlox water matrix tanks means there is no limit to the size of the water storage basin. The Basin is surrounded by liner to retain the water. The tanks are made with 85% recycled plastics, can be built to support vehicular weight loads and best of all can be designed in a wide variety of configurations to fit the site. The pump for the water feature is housed inside the basin.

Size of Infiltration depends on site soil characteristics and potential overflow quantity

The next portion of the diagram shows an example of a small overflow infiltration trench, which is designed to promote the infiltration of excess water back into the deep ground water reserve.  The infiltration trench can be built using the AquaBlox wrapped in geotextile fabric allowing the water to soak back into the ground.  The size of the infiltration trench is dependant on the type of soil on the property. The goal is to try to keep the water from your rainwater harvesting system on site allowing to soak into the ground rather than send it off to the storm sewer systems.

Bubbling Urn Fountain

Urns make great fountain pieces for your rainwater harvesting system

You no longer need to have ugly rainwater harvesting systems creating an eye sore next to your house. The decorative water feature not only adds an aesthetic value to the landscape, butit also serves as a filtration system that cleanses and aerates the water. The filtration and biodiversity is similar to that of a rain garden.

Contact Just Add Water for more information about the RainXchange rainwater harvesting system.

Pondless waterfalls are a great way to create an aesthetically pleasing rainwater harvesting system

Pondless waterfalls are a great way to create an aesthetically pleasing rainwater harvesting system








The downspout filters are very well hidden in this video. This water feature utilizes the RainXchange system very well for a very natural looking water feature.


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