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posted on October 01, 2008

CTV: Parkdale harvests rainwater for community garden

Published: Wed Sep. 24 2008
Source: CTV Toronto

A 1,550-gallon water storage tank will
be used to harvest rainwater at
a park in west-end Toronto.

Toronto's Parkdale neighbourhood is taking steps to become one of the greenest communities in town by implementing a new rainwater harvesting system.

The system, the first of its kind in the city, is expected to reduce greenhouse emissions and save the city some money.

A 1,550-gallon water storage tank is designed to collect rainwater from the metal roof of the local community centre at Masaryk Park. A pipe will carry rainwater from the roof into a cistern. The water will then be poured with the weight of gravity into the park's HOPE community food garden, according to a news release from Greenest City, a non-profit organization.

A hand pump at the garden will allow people to water plants with chemical-free rainwater.

"Few people realize that running the water supply system accounts for a staggering one third of Toronto's municipal electricity bill -- that's $47 million in electricity costs every year," local city councillor Gord Perks said in the news release. "Not to mention 10 per cent of the City's total green house gas emissions."

While the cistern is quite large, it will be placed beside the community centre at the edge of the park.

Shannon Thompson, the director of Greenest City, called the rainwater system "ground-breaking" and said there is potential to expand the system to reuse even more water.

"This is just a demonstration, it's all new," she told "People want to see something successful before moving on to something bigger.

"We hope that...this is a new era where Toronto stops flushing money and sustainability down the drain," she said.

The system is already in use in Germany, Australia, Japan and India.

The initiative is being launched this Sunday at Masaryk Park with a community celebration at 12:30 p.m.

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