Yesterday, we got an unusually strong storm for mid-May. My yard received 0.7 inches; but the San Diego Airport got 1.84 inches! For San Diego, that’s the wettest day in May ever, according to the National Weather Service. For the whole Southern California region, we are approaching record levels of rainfall for the month of May — and it’s only halfway into the month. But what have we made of this blessing?
Rain is good, right? We all talk of appreciating it, even needing it in this era of drought.
Then why is my house designed to deal with rain as if it’s sewage? Gutters take the rain from my roof and direct them into downspouts and then into pipes underground which emit the water into the road. Or some of the gutters empty into downspouts that direct the water onto the driveway which then vomits the rain into the road. Getting rid of something is treating it like waste.
Actually, on second thought, my house treats waste — sewage — better than it treats rain, since the sewer pipes feed into a septic tank and leach lines, and therefore keeps my sewage on my property. My house is designed to move rain farther away from it than it moves the sewage.
Is your house any different? Maybe your sewer lines are connected to a municipal sewer system instead of a septic tank, but I’d guess your house treats rain like waste all the same. It is the default design for houses in Southern California, not to mention all other buildings as well as parking lots. We move the rain off-site, into streets and storm drains — and then we lament the drought.
I lament that I have to labor to alter this improvident, default design. I have redirected roof downspouts to the root zones of trees, cut driveway curbs to infiltrate its runoff, installed rain tanks, etc. Why isn’t treating rain like this, like it’s a resource, the default design?
I’m sincerely asking the question. I don’t know the reasons.