New project harvests rainwater for high school greenhouse

The WCHS greenhouse is home to plants grown for the school’s annual plant sale.

Sound Rivers’ Program Director Clay Barber is at it again with new stormwater management projects in the works at West Craven Middle School and West Craven High School.

Courtesy of the Bosch Community Foundation grant, a low-lying lawn at West Craven Middle School will be transformed into a rain garden, to capture and filter runoff.

The rainwater-harvesting cistern previously installed at West Craven High School has had so much success, the school will be installing another one. Where the existing one is used to irrigate WCHS’ raised-bed vegetable garden, the new one will be providing collected—and free—rainwater to irrigate the school’s greenhouse.

West Craven High School’s raised-bed vegetable gardens are abundant thanks to irrigation from a rainwater-harvesting cistern installed last year.

“There’s going to be a new cistern coming off of a to-be-determined building, likely the maintenance building or the greenhouse. They’re right next to each other. In a perfect world we’ll use the greenhouse, because that’s where we plan to use the water,” Clay said. “The contractor is researching the manufacturer of the greenhouse to see if they make gutters to go on the greenhouse.”

The project is currently being assessed by Rainstorm Solutions, the company that most recently installed the cistern at Epiphany School. That cistern collects rainwater from the roof of the school’s gym, which is piped to a pumping station and waters the school’s football field.

The greenhouse cistern is another ambitious project: “We want to install an overhead watering drip system in the greenhouse,” Clay said.

The greenhouse is home to the plants grown for West Craven High School’s annual plant-sale fundraiser. Clay has joined forces with William Shaw, WCHS’ Future Farmers of America advisor and agricultural educator, to complete this second project, funded by a $5,000 grant from the Harold Bate Foundation.