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rainwater catchment system

Catching the Rain

By Beet 2022 10 October

This year we have had two very successful water projects. First, we had the Emergency Water tanks when the well pump was offline. More recently came the installation of the Rain Catchment System by Sage Hill Landscapes.


As you may or may not recall, last January our irrigation pump at SOREC was shut off due to the low water table. But we had a challenge. We needed to continue to water our newly propagated plants and seedlings. A few of us got together and located small 250-gallon (caged) tanks at a very reasonable price. We applied for a grant from the Jackson Soil and Water Conservation District (  and received a reimbursement grant. It was valuated at $1/gallon. In this case, it meant a maximum of $2,500 in total reimbursement. We were reimbursed for the entire amount of the emergency water system we created to irrigate the propagation underway in Greenhouse #2.                                           



The other project was to install a permanent Rain Catchment System so we would not need to pay for emergency water if that was needed. The project also served to demonstrate how a rain catchment system works and how easy it is to implement on nearly any home, farm or ranch.

  Photo by Sean Cawley  Cage Tanks Emergency Water Project

In fact, the Rain Catchment Project was ongoing when we encountered the emergency water need. We received a very favorable bid from Sage Hill Landscapes. They even donated one of the holding tanks to help us out in our pricing.


We again applied for a grant from Jackson Soil and Water Conservation District and obtained approval for a reimbursement grant with a maximum payout equivalent to the amount of water we would collect. In the case of our system, it was 5,000 gallons and therefore a maximum grant of $5,000. However, there were some challenges and JSWCD’s request list was long. We only received $2,500 in reimbursable grant funds. Thanks to a GoFundMe project that Lynn Kunstman initiated, we received nearly $10,000 in contributions.

We still have to pay for signage for the Rain Catchment System. We have not yet received estimated costs for the signage. The estimate for our total costs for the Rain Catchment System will be in the neighborhood of $2,500. That’s not too bad for a system that costs more than $14,000 overall.

Photo by Sean Cawely   Rain Catchment Tanks


Thanks need to go to the Water Committee: Lynn Kunstman and Susan Koening without whose assistance these projects would not have happened.


Catching the Rain

By Beet 2022 04 April

In September of 2021, the irrigation wells on the OSU Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center campus at 569 Hanley Road in Central Point ran dry. Watering of all campus Demonstration Gardens stopped and plants in the Native Plant Nursery began to die. Through a massive emergency effort, the nursery stock was either donated to local restoration projects or taken to member homes to be maintained until we could install a watering system.


An emergency water storage system of eight caged tanks was installed near greenhouse #1 in February 2022 to provide purchased water to irrigate native plant seedlings and transplants being produced in our nursery. This was intended as a temporary fix for the ongoing watering problems.


As a more permanent solution, JCMGA, in conjunction with Small Farms, Land Stewards and other programs housed at SOREC, began fundraising to install a large Rainwater Catchment System. The 5,000-gallon system will capture water off the roof of greenhouse #2 and is due to be installed sometime in July or August, 2022. The captured water will supply emergency irrigation to the nursery on campus in the event of future well failures.


This system will also act as a demonstration teaching tool for Master Gardeners, Small Farms, Land Stewards, 4-H programs, and any community association that would like to bring members onto campus to see what a large capacity capture system looks like. Interpretive signs and brochures will be placed with the system for the public’s information.


The Rainwater Catchment System is a $15,000 project, so we needed to raise considerable funds. With the help of a small cadre of volunteers, we reached out with personal emails and text messages to all Jackson County Master Gardeners for donations, as well as to other stakeholders and community members. As of March 25th, we have received $9,782.00 in donations.


We are pleased to have made so much progress toward our financial goals. We are now pursuing grants to make up the balance of the expenses to pay for project completion. Though the GoFundMe campaign ended on March 15th, we are still actively fundraising directly through our website donation page


Our association would like to thank everyone who donated to this effort, for supporting Master Gardeners in Jackson County in our ongoing efforts to educate and serve the citizens of Jackson County!


Garden for Life!