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Bellingham Herald- Interview with NWRS customer

A Bellingham family took this unique step to make their garden more sustainable

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A Bellingham family took this unique step to make their garden more sustainable
By Ysabelle Kempe
June 29, 2021 05:00 AM, Updated June 30, 2021 06:36 PM

Heather Williams and her husband Paul Williams wanted their one-year-old daughter to have a safe space to play and get down and dirty with nature. So, they built a food garden on their property near Lake Whatcom.

But the Bellingham couple’s garden isn’t typical — it’s completely outfitted with a rainwater irrigation system, installed last fall.

“It’s pretty amazing,” Heather Williams said. “We don’t have to think ‘OK, do we have time to water the garden? If it’s hot, are my plants going to die?’”

This system is a more sustainable alternative to a traditional irrigation system, which would pull water from the same pipes that feed into the Williams’ home. This system funnels rainwater through the gutters, down into underground pipes and into two large concrete tanks buried beneath their driveway. Through an app on his phone, Paul Williams can control which zones of the yard get watered and for how long.

Heather Williams said she was initially shocked by how much water the system captures — it only takes a few rainy days to completely fill up both tanks, which can hold 2,225 gallons of water each

“I had no idea it could rain on your roof and gather that much water,” she said.

The rainwater capture system was installed by Northwest Rain Solutions in a process that Williams said took about a week. The irrigation system in the garden was put in by Whatcom Lawns. A system like the Williams’ can get pricey — around $13,000 dollars, according to Northwest Rain Solutions — but the couple hopes their purchase can support the local business of rainwater harvesting.

“The more people that do it, the less expensive it will get,” Heather Williams said. “We were happy to give that back to our community.”

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" CJ’s years of expertise was evident in his ability to quickly assess and help us determine the best solutions for both stormwater management to protect the bluff our house sits back from, and how to best direct, store and utilize rainwater as we strive to do our part to use water smartly and to also prepare for the eventual likelihood that our water source might be overcome by saltwater intrusion. We really appreciate his mindfulness for our budget and ability to help us prioritize and plan on the spot so that we can move forward in protecting the bluff and our home and our water resources. " -Amy T.

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