Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Daffodils in bloom / Desert Wildflowers in bloom
click here for photo
Friday, December 3, 2010
1. Everything - people, places, and situations - has something to say. Really listening, without interrupting or letting your attention wander, is the simplest way to learn and understand the needs of other people and of the world.
2. Volunteer your time or donate your money to a cause that touches your heart. Read to an elderly patient or buy new books for a veterans' home. Work at a soup kitchen or send a gift of food. No matter how big or small, your contribution will positively affect many people.
3. Embrace nature and beautify the world for others. To lift people's spirit, keep your garden bright, or plant and maintain flowers in a public area. Plant and donate a tree in somebody's name in your local park. As a gift to wild animals, make your yard animal friendly with dense hedges and by using natural pesticides.
4. Your energy affects others so choose to be a beacon of light. Project goodness, happiness, and peace outward through your home, neighborhood, country, and, finally the world. The effects are felt for thousands of miles.
5. Smile and the world smiles with you. When you catch a stranger's eye, flash a bright smile, even if you aren't feeling quite that happy. Your stranger may be confused, but their day (and yours) will be brighter.
6. Animals feel a lack of love as acutely as humans. Adopt a pet from your local shelter rather than purchasing one from a pet store. If your life can't include a pet, spend an afternoon volunteering at the animal shelter giving the animals some much-needed love.
7. Help improve someone's self-esteem or simply show them you care. Give a compliment, send a friendly letter, or tell someone you were thinking about them. Make an effort to keep in touch with long-time acquaintances and to develop new friendships.
8. Be a role model. Rather than asking others to alter themselves, change your own outlook and behavior. A role model can be a source of inspiration, hope, and self-respect. Or actively take on the responsibilities of a role model and reach out to children in need of guidance or an adult in need of a friend.
The best time to hike to Cedar Falls is in the spring or fall when the falls will be at their peak and it's not too hot. There is a swimming hole at the bottom of the falls where you can enjoy a swim, if you are a polar bear!
This can be a beautiful hike. Cedar Creek is a tributary of the San Diego River. There are a number of small falls in the area with Cedar Falls being the largest. Black oak, cedar, and cottonwood trees are common in the area. Bird watchers can spot local birds.
Directions from the town of Julian: Drive two miles west on Hwys. 78/79. Turn left on Pine Hills Road. Continue 1.5 miles. Bear right onto Eagle Peak Road. Continue 1.4 miles. Bear right to stay on Eagle Peak Road. Continue another 8.2 miles to the signed trailhead for the California Riding and Hiking Trail. This last 8 miles will be partly paved and partly dirt road. The trailhead is at the end of the road with a sign that says "Saddleback Trail".
You will need to get an Adventure Pass parking permit from the U.S. Forest Service because this hike is on National forest land.
Precautions: You do need to be in good shape for this trip. The hike to Cedar Falls is 4.5 miles roundtrip and takes approximately 2.5 hours to complete. Wear sunscreen, a hat, and bring plenty of water. 3 quarts of water per person is recommended during warm weather. The trip to the falls is downhill, which means the return trip is uphill. It is dangerous to climb on the rocks around the falls. Jumping or diving into the pools is prohibited.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Do you think that just because summer is over that you have to give up your weekend camping trips? With a little proper planning, you can camp well into the fall. For those of us that can take the cold, you can even camp during the winter months. During this time of year, the nice warm days make for a great time for the family to spend hiking and exploring the wilderness. The cooler nights are perfect for sitting around the campfire eating S’mores, playing board games, sharing stories and making music with your family, friends and new acquaintances. When the leaves start changing color the experience is even more worthwhile. So grab a sweatshirt, extra blanket, and a silly (but warm) hat... then head on out there to enjoy one of the best seasons of the year!
PS: If it get's a little too chilly, windy or rainy, you can always head down the hill for the day and warm up in Borrego Springs!
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Turn off your TV. Leave your house. Know your neighbors, Look up when you are walking; Greet people; Sit on your stoop; Plant flowers; Use your library; Play together; Buy from local merchants; Share what you have; Help a lost dog; Take children to the park; Garden together; Support neighborhood schools; Fix it even if you didn't break it; Have pot lucks; Honor elders; Pick up litter; Read storeis aloud; Dance in the street; Talk to the mail carrier; Listen to the birds; Put up a swing; Help carry something heavy; Barter for your goods; Start a tradition; Ask a question; Hire young people for odd jobs; Organize a block party; Bake extra and share; Ask for help when you need it; Open your shades; Sing together; Share your skills; Take back the night; Turn up the music; Turn down the music; Listen before you react to anger; Mediate a conflict; Seek to understand; Learn from new and uncomfortable angles; Know that no one is silent athough many are not heard. Work to change this.
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
My favorite hour at Pinecrest pool is a zen experience. I'm all alone in the water, surrounded by green hills and azure sky. There's nobody on the deck watching me glide up and down the pool the long way. I count every length I swim, until I and the water are one and I forget about the count. At this point, I'm strong, not tired, and could go on all day. Oh! I wish I had all the time in the world.
If your timing is right...during the adult swim hours...a visit to Pinecrest pool can be a chance to meet and relax with old, or new friends. On a recent Friday afternoon I splashed around with Edie Seger and her daughter, Katherine, while catching up on the local news. Paths crossed often with members of the Holeman family, particularly Marilyn.
Some would rather not have kids around. I rather like seeing them having a good time at the pool. It reminds me of my childhood when I spent nearly every day in the pool, having fun by perfecting my strokes. Julian kids have good manners; marco polo and cannon ball battles are rare. They try to avoid crashing into someone like me who is gliding (I'm a slow swimmer) back and forth. The little ones are fun to watch as they paddle through the water wearing their inflatable wings. The first swimming lesson for some.
I can't say enough about the Pinecrest staff. All are friendly and helpful. When she's there, Sydney never fails to stop and chat, reminding me that the retreat is home to many vintage trailers. Perhaps it's the only such place in Southern California or beyond. As a longtime camper and RVer, I appreciate seeing those old rigs, so lovingly restored and well kept by owners half their age. I love those original classy Airstreams, Land Yachts, Wally Byam called them in the early days.
Poolside Reflections: Written by Bobbi Zane
Monday, September 20, 2010
Although Palace Coach Co. advertised their newest models for 1944, they did not produce any until the war was over (See text of ad). These new models were supposed to be the latest thing in trailers for the post-war housing shortage. It was soon after this period that some folks started making their travel trailers their primary residence, and the age of the "trailer home" had begun.
Today, pre-fabricated homes are making a comeback on the green design scene, as many cool and modern designs are making a positive impact in the world of "small architecture".
Do you see the little building at the end of the patio? The 'better' trailer parks of the period offered trailer lots with private toilet and shower facilites. These were always little concrete block buildings at the rear of each lot. All you had to do is step out of your trailer (and run a few steps) to your own private restroom!
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Campers from the 40's, 50's and 60's are considered vintage. They are classics and evoke feelings of a time gone by. Many people choose to purchase a vintage model for the look and quality. Not only do they provide comfortable and convenient camping facilities, but they are also easy and inexpensive to maintain.
Vintage campers can be easily found online. There are multiple sites that specialize in selling and restoring these campers. There are also clubs dedicated to the restoration and use of these campers. People who use these types of trailers do so for a variety of reasons. Some people like the classic look while some want an economical way to camp in comfort. Others have no desire to use them for practical purposes and simply enjoy the restoration process.
The most popular vintage trailer is the Airstream They started producing these in 1932 out of wood and then changed to the aluminum models that are widely recognizable. Vintage campers can often be towed by smaller vehicles. This is not because they are lighter weight but because of the aerodynamic design and the weight distribution allows it to be pulled with greater ease.
Buying a vintage camper can be a lot fun but you should do plenty of research before deciding on one. Unless you are an experienced buyer, it is best to buy a camper in as good a condition as possible. Run down campers can take a lot of work to restore and can often times be more frustrating than you'd want. Continual work will increase the amount of time without its use and will also cost more money. Once a person gets some experience, they can then move on to more advanced work. However, it is better to start off small.
Before buying a vintage camper, think about why you want it and what it will be used for. This will determine the model and size of the camper you may need. Inspect the interior and exterior to determine the condition. Some wear and tear is expected and dents may be found on the exterior. But, it should still be in relatively good shape. Ask the seller to demonstrate the plumbing and refrigeration to ensure there are no leaks. Check the floors to determine if they are solid or if there may be rotting.Tires should be in adequate condition to at least tow it to where it will be stored during minor repairs.
After purchasing a vintage trailer, be sure to get it fully insured. Owning a classic piece of Americana can be a highly rewarding experience. It can also be a practical way to enjoy retro camping. If you like classic vehicles, this is a great option for spending time on restoration as well as having a great conversation piece to use for vacationing.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Trailer park in Julian is Vintage Escape!
For nearly 50 years, Pinecrest Resort has been a quiet mountain retreat
By By Ruth Lepper SPECIAL TO THE UNION-TRIBUNE
Saturday, August 14, 2010 at 9:04 p.m.
JULIAN — Driving down a narrow paved road off state Route 79 leads to a quaint trailer park nestled among stately oak trees.
Home to nearly 100 vintage travel trailers, somewhat more modern motorhomes and an occasional fifth-wheeler, Pinecrest Resort is a vintage trailer park on 85 acres. The park will reach a milestone next year when it marks 50 years of providing an escape for people who want to experience a few days of peace and quiet in the mountains.
Driving around the park, the solitude is evident. The privately owned sites are not crowded; there’s plenty of space for a trailer and room for a picnic area, lawn chairs and storage shed, as well as an area for parking a car.
The trailer park sits in a shaded canyon in the Cuyamaca Mountains, a few miles from the center of the town of Julian. Silver Airstreams, streamlined Prairie Schooners, mini Fans and the smaller Teardrops sit under the trees.
Frank Spevacek and his wife, Kathy Rosenow, have been the owners of Pinecrest since 2005. They moved to Julian from Santa Ana 13 years ago, and when they heard the park was for sale, they knew it was a project they wanted to undertake.
“We didn’t go out looking for a trailer park to buy, we kind of stumbled into it,” Rosenow said. “The other part of it is we always loved camping. When our kids were little, we learned quickly the best vacations were taking them out camping.”
The park sustained considerable damage from the Cedar fire in 2003, including the loss of 55 trailers and the previous owners’ house. About one-third of the park was damaged.
For the past five years, the main focus has been on cleaning up the park and replanting vegetation lost in the fire. One of the challenges is that the fire destroyed many of the older shade trees. Plantings have replaced some of the lost trees, but the owners also are working on shade designs for the sites.
“We will build shade structures where it was burned so badly,” Rosenow said.
Much of the work centers on finding ways to create more spaces and attract new owners. Site ownership currently is at its highest since the fire, with 110 sites sold. There’s room for 70 more.
Managers Sydney and Richard Fox are the only full-time residents, moving in when they became managers in 2004 for the previous owners, Dian and Stan Cornett. They first started coming to the park with their family in 1975 and purchased a site 19 years later.
“People who like the outdoors, and it’s not too fancy,” Sydney Fox said of the visitors who come to the trailer park. “It’s a place to go when it rains or snows. We love it.”
Many local residents take advantage of park facilities by joining the Swim Club, giving them daily access to the pool and yoga classes from June through September. Julian resident Bobbi Zane said she joined the Swim Club for the exercise.
“I’ve been so happy since I’ve been able to go to the Swim Club a couple of times a week … can’t beat the environment either, great mountain views, sometimes thunderheads in the sky,” Zane said.
While the park is for members who own their sites, there are a few trailers available to the public, or for members who may need extra space for overnight guests. This includes a 1968 Banner and a 1976 Automate, each with room to sleep two adults, while a 1976 Terry can accommodate a family of four.
Ruth Lepper is a freelance writer from Ramona.Take a moment to check out the actual post in the Union Tribune: http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/aug/14/trailer-park-is-a-vintage-escape/
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Looks like there’s going to be an article in the Union Tribune on Pinecrest!
Scheduled to run Sunday Aug 15th on the COVER of the “North Inland” insert to the paper.
The interviews will occur on Thurs Aug 5th, and the photo shoot on Sat Aug 7th. Hope many of you can be there for the photo shoot – or even the interview! They’re very interested in cool vintage trailers (...and the people who own them!)
Let owners Kathy & Frank or park managers Syd & Richard know you are around and interested! Thanks!
Friday, July 23, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
12 Tips for Simple Living:
1: Pay bills immediately.
As long as a bill is hanging out there in the unpaid category, it occupies mental space.
2: Bring a mug to work.
Instead of going through stacks of single-use disposable cups at work, bring your own ceramic mug. Same goes for a water bottle, plate, silverware and any other frequently used items.
3: Spend time outdoors.
Whether it's sunny or overcast, step outside every day to reconnect with nature.
4: Celebrate your victories.
In the rush of our lives, too often we allow our "mountaintop moments" to pass unnoticed.
5: Pay in cash.
Identify a personal spending trouble spot and shift to a cash-only policy.
6: Save your "petty" change.
If you buy a bottle of wine for $9.19, pay with a $10 bill, then put the 81 cents change directly into your piggy bank or an old glass jar.
7: Empty your trash.
Staring into an overflowing waste basket makes you feel bloated, while an empty receptacle signals that your slate has been cleared, and you're ready to move forward.
8: Turn on the ceiling fan.
They provide a soothing, low-level whir (the white noise can help you sleep) and reduce cooling bills in the summer and heating bills in the winter.
9: Hang clothes outside.
I was overjoyed to rediscover in middle age that my childhood chore of hanging clothes on the line was actually pleasurable.
10: Buy used.
It costs less and cuts down on packaging waste, thus reducing your carbon footprint. Second-hand or consignment shops are great places to find clothes, kitchen equipment and even furniture.
11: Disconnect and reconnect.
Take time every day to disconnect from electronics. This will open the way for eye-to-eye contact and genuine engagement.
12: Stop and chat.
When you're out for a walk in the neighborhood, or in a supermarket line, make small talk. You will find that "small talk" isn't small, but big and meaningful.
Monday, June 7, 2010
Photos by Jayne Kennedy
Memorial Day is ALWAYS fun at Pinecrest as it marks the opening of the high season and the opening of the swimming pool.
This year's events included Funnel Cake Making and a Pirates Scavenger Hunt for the kids! If you would like to know more about Pincecrest or are interested in becoming a site-holding member please contact the Richard or Syd at http://www.pinecrestretreat.com/managers.shtml to arrange a visit or just to chat!
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Pinecrest is more than just "a cool place to hang out with friends". Pinecrest is a cool place to hang out with birds, deer, raccoons, rabbits, butterflies and wildflowers. The "park" is a veritable nature preserve! In addition to the beautiful natural areas around the trailer sites, there are also acres and acres of unspoiled private property to hike and explore. From the highest point on the Pinecrest property you can see both the Pacific Ocean and the Salton Sea! And because some native plants were lost due to the wild fires of the past, efforts are being made to re-establish these plants and trees. Being a part of Pinecrest, is being proactive in preserving open spaces for generations to come! Join the movement!
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Thought this might be a nice add for the Pinecrest blog. Several Sisters on the Fly have had and have sites at Pinecrest Retreat (currently, me and Janet Castagnola).
I am always working on luring more in!
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Friday, April 2, 2010
One of the great things about Pinecrest, and the few places on the map that are like it, is the unending community spirit. When you come down for a week-end you start bumping into folks you know and start getting the skinny on what's happen where. So-n-So has a few friends in town and is having a small bonfire around sundown,or What's-Her-Name has brought the waffle iron up and is hosting a little Coffee-n-Waffles fest tomorrow morning. It's a good way to get the know the people in the park and there are always some nice new surprise introductions. The rule of thumb is: buy one thing in volume on the way to the park, like a basket of apples or some other goodie, so you have something to offer the gang when it's your turn to host the party.
Monday, March 15, 2010
New "Vintage Trailer Television" on YouTube!
Pinecrester Jayne has recently purchased and is learning to play the ukelele! In this video shot at a music camp we can see how much fun ukes can be to play and how good they can sound when played all together. So bring your uke to camp and give us a taste of that ol time music!
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Three authentic Mongolian yurts were purchased by Pinecrest owners Frank and Kathleen from a Hollywood production company who had intended to use them in a film. The Yurts will eventually be positioned in a cluster on a hillside overlooking the pool, with any luck. Two of the Yurts are smaller in dimension (perhaps 16' in diameter) and the third is quite large (perhaps 32' in diameter).
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Some frequently asked questions:1. How do you harvest rainwater?As amazing as it sounds, this is a question that comes up often. It must be theword harvest that is causing the confusion.Per Webster’s dictionary harvest is defined as 1) to gather in or 2) to accumulate a store of. Consequently to harvest rainwater means to gather it in.In my Great Aunt’s house in Maine, this was done with an old wood barrel. It was put beside the house and rainwater drained into it. We would use this water to drink, clean the dishes and everything else you can think of. Today it can still be caught with barrels, large and small, but I would advise against drinking it straight out of the barrel.2. Where do you get the water?Fortunately it comes FREE from the sky. They still have not figured out a wayto privatize rain yet. Although I am sure someone is actually thinking aboutthose air space rights.3. What is the best way of harvesting rain?Catch it in anything that holds waters. Many landscape or garden stores cantell you where to buy barrels. Here in Austin we have a wide variety, withsome selling new barrels and other selling barrels that have been recycled. Inthe Austin yellow pages I found them by calling a few landscapers and even one of the gutter installers advertised rainwater collection. Some cities offerincentives, so also check with your local water company.Once you have a container, simply put the barrel beneath where the rainwater runs off your roof and you have started harvesting.Look for barrels that have a faucet attachment where you can attach a hose to use the captured water for your yard.If you want to build your own barrel a great tutorial is at: How to Build a Rain Barrel4. Why should I harvest rainwater?Good question and probably the answer is going to be different for different folks. Some will like the idea of not paying the utility company for something that is FREE. Or maybe it is because rainwater is typically better for the plants. Or it could be that you don’t like big bond issues to pay for new water treatment plants. There are lots of possible reasons.With me it was a little bit of all the above. But also it was a project I could do personally and knew it would have a net positive impact on the environment. My system makes me feel great when I am out watering or just looking at ouryard.5. Do I need pumps to harvest rainwater?Maybe. If you just have a small barrel and you are using an attached hose orsoaker line, no pump is likely required. If you have a barrel or tank that isabove ground level by a just a few feet, and you are on a flat piece of land, and have a small yard; probably no pump will be needed.If your tank is at ground level and you need to move the water up any slope then you will likely need a pump.However, sometimes you can get enough water pressure in a closed-looped water collection system to supply the pressure required, even to drive a sprinkler system. Consult a local specialist to determine what is going to work for you.6. Can I use drip irrigation or soaker hoses with a rainwater?Yes, but I recommend you install an inexpensive line filter.Most irrigation stores sell inline sprinkler filters. This is a simple device that screws into the lines prior to your irrigation system and cleans out the large leaves and other stuff (i.e. sometimes referred to as particulates) out of the water so it does not clog your lines. Check out the vendors page for information on several inexpensive filters.7. How big a yard can I water?It depends, simple question with no simple answer. Can you have rain barrels at various places around the yard? How much rain can you capture? What type of plants do you have? How much do you want to spend on tanks?The Austin Wildflower Center has 2 - 25,000 gallon (i.e. 7.5 - 94,625 liters)tanks and 3 cisterns. They estimate they can capture up to 300,000 gallons(i.e. 1,135,500 liters) a year and they estimate their system meets 10-15% oftheir annual needs. The Austin Wildflower Center covers 279 acres and displays over 500 species of native plants and has become a popular destination for knowledge-seeking gardeners and nature-loving tourists.As you can see, systems can be very large and water an extremely large area. It is just a matter of how much you really, really want to capture and how much you want to spend.8. How big are rain barrels?Thanks for the soft ball question, I needed it. Rain barrels vary in size from a few gallons/liters to about 100 gallons (i.e. 378 liters). Most barrels are around 50-60 gallons (i.e. 189 - 227 liters).Rainwater tanks run from several hundred gallons/liters to many thousand gallons (i.e. 7,000 – 75,000 liters).My tanks are about 2,000 gallons each (i.e. 7,570 liters each).9. I want more pressure, how should I raise it?Raising your barrel or tanks or by installing a pump. Every foot you raise yourstorage tank increases the pressure about 0.433 psi or less because of pressure loss due to friction (1 psi ~ 3.21 feet of fresh water head). It generally takes only a few feet to be able to use a hose or drip system, but it takes a lot to run a sprinkler. Raising your rain barrel can be a quick and cheap way to increase your pressure.10. Can I water my grass with rainwater?Yes, but grass usually takes a lot of water. A typical lawn requires about 3,000 gallons (i.e. 11,355 liters) a month. This means you would need some large tanks to hold the water, especially in drier climates. Additionally, you would need a large surface area to capture the rain.However, rain barrels can and should be used to augment your watering. Thiswill cut your watering bill and be better for your grass.I recommend before going with big tanks to water your lawn you look at reducing your outdoor water consumption. Going to local vegetation, drought hearty plants and then installing either drip irrigation or soaker hose will reduce your water consumption. It will be less costly, since you then need smaller tanks.But remember, rainwater is still free.sustainabledesignupdate.com
by Hari J. Krishna, Ph.D., P.E., P.H., ARCSA Founder & Past President
In the 1980s and early 90s, most people, especially in urban areas were unaware of what rainwater harvesting (RWH) meant and why there would be a need to collect rainwater. It took an enormous amount of effort working with and speaking to local communities, organizations and state agencies to publicize the need for and benefits of RWH. Based on my experience with RWH during the past 20+ years, I offer the following strategies that can be utilized to promote the technology in your respective state or region.
1. Education. Education includes both formal and informal instruction and learning. Formal education refers to classroom teaching in schools, vocational colleges and universities, while informal education involves the discussion of and seminars about RWH to citizens, local groups, and at community events. Both types of education are needed to promote RWH technology. Working with middle schools and high schools, and possibly through class projects, the benefits of RWH can be imbibed into the minds of young students, who in turn, can apply the technology at home with their parents. I have had experience with people contacting me for more information on RWH, because their children had first learnt about it at school.
Colleges and Universities must develop RWH courses for students in disciplines such as natural resources, environmental sciences, architecture and engineering. It is important to have young professionals with academic training in RWH to design such systems in their professional careers. The Texas Manual on Rainwater Harvesting is a good first source of material for developing RWH courses. The Texas Manual is available on-line at www.twdb.state.tx.us/publications/reports/RainwaterHarvestingManual_3rdedition.pdf
Developing curricula in RWH for vocational schools will benefit those who intend to serve as technicians in installing and maintaining RWH systems. Lane Community College in Oregon is a good example of vocational instruction in RWH.
2. Training. For those already in the workforce, training courses such as those being offered by ARCSA can be very useful. The state land-grant universities have a vast network of engineering and agricultural/cooperative extension services in the country that can and should organize training in RWH. Since their primary role is to disseminate knowledge, this would be an ideal field in which to provide training. Again, the Texas Manual could be modified and applied to various States. National, state and local governments could also initiate training for their staff in order for them to become familiar with RWH. I had the pleasure of assisting with a short training program on RWH that was organized by the Canadian government, primarily to provide their environmental staff and others with information relating to RWH systems.
3. State and/or Regional Chapters of ARCSA. It would be very helpful to develop state or regional chapters throughout the country to focus on RWH in their respective areas. Local or regional organizations would be ideal in developing RWH publications and manuals tailored to their specific needs and climatic conditions. Local chapters can organize seminars, invite public officials and others to emphasize the value of RWH in meeting local water needs. In addition, State chapters and their members can communicate with local officials and their elected representatives in promoting RWH in their region. Also, regional organizations and their members can be invaluable in strengthening the knowledge base for ARCSA.
4. Demonstration Facilities. It is a good idea to install RWH systems at public facilities such as schools, libraries and community centers even if there is not much of a profit for the installer. Once people see the benefits of RWH, there will be enough publicity generated, and would likely help the installer in growing his or her business. In some cases, there may be limited funds available for capital expenses and not enough for labor, but that should not discourage those venturing into the RWH business. New businesses may have to invest many hours of volunteer effort in order to be recognized and to ultimately become successful.
5. Legislative Support. This is one key area that can help significantly in the growth of RWH in any particular region. Local chapters can hold seminars or demonstrate RWH systems, and invite legislators and other elected representatives to visit and become familiar. When we organized the first ARCSA conference in Austin, I was pleased that the then House Natural Resources Committee chairperson accepted our invitation to inaugurate the conference. Other legislators, a large number of state agency officials and local residents also attended the conference. Several legislative initiatives in support of RWH have been undertaken in Texas. These include Senate Bill 2, that provided sales tax exemption for all RWH equipment purchased in Texas, and House Bill 2430 that created a state RWH evaluation committee. Even as I write this paper, the omnibus RWH bill HB 1818 is being filed in the Texas state legislature today.
6. State Agency Assistance. Along with legislative support, it is necessary that the cooperation and assistance of state agencies be gained in support of RWH technology. All 50 States have government agencies that are responsible for water and environmental issues affecting their respective states. The Texas Manual on RWH published by the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) could be used as an example to obtain funding for similar publications from other state agencies. The link for the TWDB’s RWH webpage is www.twdb.state.tx.us/iwt/rainwater.asp . Inviting state agency officials to RWH workshops and conferences would be a good way to gain their attention and support.
7. Local Government Support. Similar to state agencies, most cities and many counties have departments that deal with water conservation and environmental issues. It would be helpful to meet with local government staff and convince them that RWH saves water, and that the technology can ultimately help the city in meeting their peak water demand. The City of Austin is a good example for promoting RWH. Their water conservation website is www.ci.austin.tx.us/watercon/default.htm
8. Availability of Credit. The RWH community should familiarize bankers and other mortgage lenders with RWH technology, so that they would be comfortable in providing loans to homeowners, when needed. Even if architects and engineers design a good RWH system, if a homeowner cannot secure a loan for his home and the RWH system, the project may be failure. It is therefore always a good idea to keep local lenders and their agents informed about RWH technology, by inviting them to seminars and demonstrations.
9. RWH Equipment Sourcing. Many customers prefer to purchase the equipment they need for their RWH system from a single source, rather than having to shop for components in various places. Unless a homeowner has plenty of free time available,
he or she would prefer a ‘turn-key’ type of job, where a single contractor completes the entire job. It is even better if a designer, equipment retailer and installer could work together in providing a complete RWH system that may be needed by a purchaser. The goal should be to make it easy for the purchaser to obtain and install his or her RWH system. This will go a long way in making RWH technology popular in a new area.
10. Cost Competitiveness. Regardless of how well a RWH system may be designed and installed, if the complete cost of the RWH system would be much higher than an alternative that is available to the owner, he or she may not choose the RWH system. RWH systems should be cost-competitive with well water systems as well as other surface water systems. As costs of municipal water increase, there may be a greater demand for RWH systems in urban locations. However, in order to popularize RWH systems in new areas, those involved in designing and marketing RWH systems should be willing to forego higher profit margins per unit, in favor of greater and more widespread demand for their products.
Notwithstanding all of the above, the single most important pre-requisite for promoting RWH is one’s absolute belief in and dedication to this technology. You should first convince yourself about the benefits of RWH, and then be able to convince others around you that this is a valuable yet inexpensive technology for the conservation of our precious natural resources.