How Potent Is The Rain?

Just a short post today, but yet, a big one. With all the talk of drought and water shortages it’s good for us to stop and take a look at just how much water he have, and how little of it we capture and take advantage of. Everyone has witnessed the rivers of water running down the streets during a good rain. Rainwater or storm-water if you will, represents a tremendous amount of potential water that we can capture and use. In areas of infrequent rainfall, having the infrastructure to capture and redistribute this water can make a life-and-death difference to a community and its people.

A little arithmetic proves to be eye opening. Using my home town of Memphis as an example, let’s take a look at just how tremendous our rain resource can be.

  • One inch of rain equals about 27,000 gallons of water per acre
  • Memphis covers about 275,000 acres
  • Memphis receives on average about 57 inches of rain per year

The following calculation tells us how much rain water falls in Memphis in a year. (You can use this model to find out how much rain water your city gets in a year)

(27,000 gallons/acre) x (257,000 acres) x (57 inches/year) ≈ 425,000,000,000 that’s 425 billion gallons of water per year.

That’s a hell of a lot of water going down the drain just in one city. The only thing more mind boggling than how much rain water falls across the globe, is how ill-prepared man is to capture more of it. The only reason we have water shortages is because our view on water is narrow.




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