3/11/2014 11:44:00 AM Williams residents collect 200 gallons of rain water during recent wet weather
Williams residents Bruce and Linda Carruthers stand next to their rain catching contraption. The Carruthers gathered about 200 gallons of water during rainy weather the weekend of March 1. Ryan Williams/WGCN
WILLIAMS, Ariz. - Williams may be in the midst of a water shortage, but that isn't stopping some local residents from using their ingenuity to collect the precious resource.
With the city of Williams declaring a water crisis and implementing level four water restrictions Feb. 25, using water for irrigation or any reason other than public health or emergency reasons is off-limits.
However, in the days after the restrictions went into effect, Bruce and Linda Carruthers rigged up a rainwater harvesting system at their Williams home just in time for a weekend storm. With the half-inch of rain the Carruthers received at their house, they collected about 200 gallons of water.
"It's amazing what is available," Bruce said.
The Carruthers used two 40-gallon rain barrels hooked up to the home's rain gutters to gather the water. The containers are recycled pickle barrels from Greece and cost about $40. Bruce used a section of hose and some valves to transfer the water to a third barrel when one of the original barrels gets too full.
When the three rain barrels filled up, he found additional water storage in a large blue barrel and several smaller orange buckets.
The water containers all have lids to prevent evaporation and to keep mosquitoes out.
The Carruthers have already watered their trees and shrubs since the storm, and still have about 160 gallons to use for watering in the coming weeks.
"We're not going to save the lawn if we have to," Bruce said. "You can replace that for $100 in a weekend. But the trees are priceless. They're five years old and if they die, you've really got a problem."
If the Carruthers weren't collecting rainwater, Bruce said, "my whole landscape dies and it'll look like the Libyan Desert."
He encouraged other people to set up similar rainwater harvesting systems at their houses, since they are inexpensive and water is a limited commodity.
"I'm no mechanic," he said. "Hey, science wins. Make science work for you."