Our project is collaborating with Long Beach Organic, a nonprofit organization that revitalizes vacant urban lots into organic community gardens, to help them save water and cut down on costs. With the ongoing severe California drought, Long Beach Organic (LBO) is struggling to cover their water costs. LBO rents out plots to gardeners to grow their own food. If they cannot find a way to mitigate their rising water costs, LBO will be have to raise annual fees and impose harsher water fines.
Our solution is to design, build, and implement a rainwater catchment system that would capture rainwater during the rainy winter and spring seasons. The captured rainwater would be filtered with a biosand filter to make non-potable water and stored in rain barrels for the dry summer season. Gardeners can use the captured rainwater to water their gardens and rinse their fruits and vegetables instead of paying per gallon at the tap.
Although the captured rainwater is not enough to replace tap water currently used, the alternative water supply is enough to significantly reduce the community garden's water usage. In addition, we are developing a workshop series to educate gardeners and community members on how to use and maintain the rainwater catchment system, as well as on sustainable watering practices.
We hope to increase sustainability of the gardens and educate the local community on sustainable practices through collective action. Through the help of volunteers from Long Beach Organic as well as students from our chapter, we hope to bring measurable long-term change for hundreds of community members all around Long Beach and the surrounding areas.
Funded by LA South Bay, CA (October 2015)