by RainSaucers Inc. on April 15th, 2014

Almost every other clean technology has gotten a boost from the Federal Government in the form of a Tax Credit.  Most notably the Energy Policy Act of 2005  established a 30% federal tax credit for solar-electric systems, solar water heating systems and fuel cells. The Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 further extended this tax credit to small wind-energy systems and geothermal heat pumps. And this tax credit is still in efect until December of 2016. This equates to 11 years of government subsidy from 2006-2016.

Rainwater Harvesting on the other hand, has  received nothing from the Federal Government- just local initiatives like rain barrel giveaways and an occasional rebate on an RWH system. Given the drought that is currently facing much of this country, you would think the Fed would come to realize that we need a national Water Policy just as much as we need one for Energy. Just as our Energy Policy is targeted at helping us reduce our reliance our foreign sources and create more self sufficiency at the residential level, a Water Policy would promote self-reliance in Water for the home. A Federal Tax Credit for rainwater harvesting systems and all other water saving technologies would be one way to implement such a policy.

by RainSaucers Inc. on April 10th, 2014

John Pacheco, a 3rd grader at Curtis Creek Elementary School in Sonora, CA. Congratulations John and many thanks to all the children who participated.  They showed some real ingenuity in their artwork and we were really pleased to see our message gettting through. In addition to a certifcate of recognition for John, his school  will be receiving a free 59" RainSaucer and DIY Standalone RainBarrel Kit.

by RainSaucers Inc. on March 3rd, 2014

All contest entries postmarked by March 31, 2014 will be accepted.

In order to raise awareness of rainwater harvesting and promote the use of RainSaucers™ as a tool for collecting rain, we are launching today our 1st Annual "Saucers for Schools" Art Contest. All students in grades 3-5 in an Elementary School in the United States (and territories) are eligible to win a 59"RainSaucer + DIY Standalone Rain Barrel Kit ($85 Value) for their School Garden or Campus. There will only be one winner per Grade as judged by the Management of RainSaucers Inc.

• Entries must be on white 8 1/2” x 11” paper with the theme  “Why collect rain?” The artwork must contain the image of a funnel of any size collecting rain and represent an application of collected rainwater (such as Gardening, Landscaping, Drinking, Water for Animals, Bathing, Washing, etc.)  
• The artwork must be 2D, with nothing stuck to it. 
• On the back, please include name (first and last), title of the artwork, name of school,  school's address, student's grade (3-5), teacher's name and email address, parent's name and email address, and home address. 
• Entries must be mailed to RainSaucers Inc., 11040 Bollinger Canyon Road, Suite E-170
San Ramon, CA 94582 with a postmark date no later than March 31, 2014.
• Results will be announced on our blog on April 10, 2014. 
• There is no fee to enter.

All students and teachers should review the rules and guidelines carefully. We will not accept entries that are delayed or do not follow the guidelines. Questions can be asked via our Contact page. By submitting an entry to our Art Contest, the artist agrees that the artwork becomes the property (including all copyrights) of RainSaucers Inc. 

Prize: Each winning artist selected will receive a certificate of recognition and their School will have a 59" RainSaucer and DIY Standalone RainBarrel Kit mailed to them in April. Please note: barrel is not included. 

by RainSaucers Inc. on February 19th, 2014

It's something that's been bothering me for a long time. We have this great product that could help a lot people in developing countries. But each time we get close to some sort of arrangement with a local partner, the topic of water storage comes up. That's where the discussion ends because of total cost- the poor simply cannot afford the tank our system needs. So I'd been wondering how to make a RainSaucer™ that comes with its own tank- for dirt cheap no less. Then it hit me- on KickStarter we see cardboard bikes, cardboard furniture, cardboard speakers. Why not a cardboard tank and RainSaucer™?  It could work as long as we could find a method for waterproofing the cardboard. So  I put the challenge to my new industrial design interns Claudine Zafra and Ray Chen from San Jose State and after significant trial and error we have a few prototypes that are now working. 

Today we issued a press release about our new project- "The Two Dollar Tank" (pictured above, more pictures below).  As the name suggests, the Two Dollar Tank is a rainwater collection system that can be manufactured for less than two dollars making it an ideal solution for the developing world. The key to the low cost is the use of heavy duty carboard for the frame lined by 2 Mil polyethylene sheet inside and out. The idea is similar to that of a water bag but with the cardboard structure to relieve pressure on the bag and allow for access from the top . The open top also allows us to add a RainSaucer™ for standalone collection or as a gutter substitute.  Specs of the system:
  • Tank dimensions are 18" x 18" x 24"
  • Tank holds 4.5 Cubic Feet of Storage or 33.6 Gallons/144 liters
  • 40" octogonal RainSaucer collects rain stand alone or off a roof.
  • In standalone mode, collection surface of approx. 8 square feet= 5 gallons/inch of rain.
  • In roof collection mode surface can increase to 30 square feet= 18 gallons/inch of rain.
  • System is Foldable down to approx. 18" x 24" x 4"
  • Total weight including siphon pump is under 2lbs
  • 100% DIY. User installs tank by folding out bottom flaps on flat suface. RainSaucer rests on top and is secured by string around entire system.
  • Water is removed by lifting up RainSaucer and scooping out water or by low cost Siphon Pump (which can be purchased wholesale from China and customized for well under $1)
  • Expected life of system is 1-3 years. 
The Two Dollar Tank project is currently in the final stages of product development, What we need now is an NGO interested in teaming up with us to finalize the design and field test it. Please contact us if you are interested. 

​More photos and the Bill of Materials are available below.

We start with an 18" x 18" x 24" Box and line it inside and out with 2Mil Black PE Sheet
The RainSaucer is also lined with PE Sheet. It goes on top and is tied down with string.
Top View.
The removable strainer in the Center keep outs debris, bugs, and critters.
When filled with water the tank expands but contracts back when empty.
The added plastic at the bottom of the RainSaucer keeps it in place even when the tank expands from water.
Water can be dispensed with  a Siphon Pump that has been extended. Siphon Action will allow for automatic drainage once flow is established.
The compact form means the system can be easily transported or shipped in case of use for Disasters.
The final retail price could for the initial system would be near $5 - easily affordable by the Bottom of the Pyramid.  Replacement tanks would be available for $2.50.
The Two Dollar Tank Team- from left to right: Tom Spargo, Ray Chen, and Claudine Zafra

by RainSaucers Inc. on February 4th, 2014

We've posted before about why we make in the USA.  The main reason is that for our product, there simply is no cost advantage because of the large size of the plastic sheets and custom tooling involved. Not to mention the qaulity of plastic sheet is simply better here in the US. But for the record, it's not just the plastic sheet for which this is true. Everything that goes into the RainSaucer™ comes from a high quality domestic company
  • The thick nylon twine we use is made by a decades old fish net manufacturer in Louisiana.
  • The nylon fasteners we use are made by an industrial plastic fastener specialist in Arkansas
  • The PVC components are made in California by one of the biggest suppliers of PVC in the United States.

by RainSaucers Inc. on January 22nd, 2014

The upside down umbrella. It's probably the most used symbol in the rainwater harvesting industry.  For most people it represents a change in the way we think about rain- from nuisance to cherished natural resource. It is also highly inspirational and a great tool for rainwater harvesting education. For example, the poster shown here is the first prize winner in the Rain Drops Geneva poster competition, sponsored by IRHA

But for our company and a few others around the world, the upside down umbrella is more than just symbolic. As you can see from our Pinterest page, there are many designers out there working on free standing rainwater collection, in addition to our products. We are clearly not alone in believing it's just a matter of time before non-roof based rainwater harvesting becomes commonplace.

by RainSaucers Inc. on January 7th, 2014

If you are using a white colored drum, IBC Tote, or bucket as a rain barrel and you are concerned about algae, you have three very simple choices for how to deal with it.  The first is to do nothing- based on the premise that the water is for gardening and not for human or animal consumption. Algae will not hurt your plants because algae is a plant itself.  The second is to block out the light that is entering the unit. Algae needs sunlight to flourish so take away the exposure and the algae will dissipate. The most common way to block out light is to paint the outside of the barrel a dark color with Krylon fusion paint which is optimized for plastic. Another possibility is to wrap the barrel in plastic sheeting. The third choice is to move the water into the shade. This is clearly not practical for 55 gallon drums. But if you are collecting rainwater on a smaller scale for potable drinking water purposes (algae can be harmful to animals and humans when consumed), keeping the water cool and dark will be your best method of preservation anyway.

by RainSaucers Inc. on December 17th, 2013

Does rainwater harvesting make sense in California?  It rains mostly in the Winter and early Spring here and not at all during the Summer when most gardening activity is at a peak.  Furthermore, it doesn’t rain all that much to begin with:  San Francisco gets just 22 inches while LA only gets 15. Plus water is cheap thanks to the runoff from Mount Shasta and the Great California Aqueduct. So why bother?  Because rainwater harvesting makes sense anywhere, but especially in places where it is dry. As we’ve posted about before, rainwater has benefits that go well beyond Return on Investment. These include increased Water Security, improved Water Quality, Drought Preparedness , and Stormwater Reduction. But there are some other reasons specific to California:
  • Earthquake Preparedness. Who wants to be without water when the next big Earthquake hits? Eight of the Ten biggest recorded quakes in California occurred in during the rainy season.  And ALL of the ones that killed more than 50 people were in the rainy season (San Francisco was in April of 1906, Northridge was in January of 1994, Loma Prieta was in October of 1989, San Fernando was in February of 1971). So collecting rainwater makes sense in case an Earthquake shuts down water lines.
  • California has the negative of potential Earthquakes but it also has the positive of a moderate climate. It rarely freezes here, meaning there are a wide range of plants that can be started during Winter. Examples include your heartier varieties of peas, spinach, cauliflower, and cabbage, as well as lettuce and other salad greens. So a gardener with ambition can easily start their plants in Late Fall irrigated with nothing but natural rain. Then with the support of collected rainwater, they can grow and harvest their vegetables even after the rain has stopped.
  • Finally it goes without saying, but every drop really does count. Even a small rainwater harvesting system has the potential to support  some vegetables from planting to harvest. Please read our post which shows our own experiment in this area.

by RainSaucers Inc. on December 2nd, 2013

At 4'-5' in height, the RainSaucer™ is not exactly a stocking stuffer.

But it makes a great Holiday gift for your favorite gardener who will appreciate the quality of the water and the convenience of having a water source right next to the garden.

This year we will be supporting your Holiday purchase by sending everything Priority Mail at no extra charge.*

*For orders placed between 12/1-12/15, shipments will go out no later than 12/18 by USPS 3-day Priority Mail. Visit our buy page to place an order.

by RainSaucers Inc. on November 19th, 2013

As we discussed in a post  we made in June of 2010, the ROI (return on investment) of rainwater collection will continue to improve, as municipalities raise their water rates. So while the ROI of a rain barrel still may be low,  at least it's an increasingly positive number. In other words, you'll always break even on your investment but with some luck and time you will eventually see the savings on your water bill.

However in the three years since we last wrote about this topic, we have seen customers purchase our system (and others) for a wide range of reasons worth mentioning that go well beyond ROI. These include:
- Water Security. Knowing that  if something were to happen to the local water company a backup source of water would be readily available.
- Water Quality. Gardeners and homesteaders especially appreciate the softness of rainwater. Soft water is healthier for plants (no chemicals like chlorine) and also results in streak free dishes and laundry that is soft with out a fabric softener.
- Drought preparation. When a drought is severe, there may be restrictions placed on the watering of plants in the landscape. But not for residents using harvested rainwater. So a rain barrel acts a hedge against drought restrictions.
- Stormwater reduction. Every gallon that ends up in a rain barrel  is a gallon (assuming collection from or above an impervious surface) that doesn't flow to the nearest river and cause pollution as it brings street contaminants along with it.
- Education. RBs teach kids about the water cycle through the fun of dispensing rainwater and watering plants. 

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