– Ben Martens

Cistern at Gates Foundation

I’ve been pestering TimS with a lot of questions now that I actually have a yard. His landscaping expertise has already come in very handy. We were discussing various ways to improve water runoff from my roof. It tends to drain back down into the crawlspace making extra work for the sump pump and the previous owners already had a little bit of an issue down there. I think I’ll probably end up installing one of these dry wells, but we started talking about cisterns. He mentioned that The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation headquarters here in Seattle has a 1 million gallon cistern that is used for flushing toilets and irrigation! The runoff from the paved areas and the roof of the building is collected there and reused.

I know it’s completely impractical for a lot as small as mine, but I can’t stop thinking about it. Sure I’d have to dig up most of my yard to fit a decent sized cistern in it. Sure I’d have to do a lot of work to get all of my downspouts to funnel into it. Sure it would cost orders of magnitude more money than I would save. But none of that means I don’t dream about it!