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Raleigh business owner invests big bucks to save water

Posted February 29, 2008
Updated November 20, 2008

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— How far would you go to conserve water and keep a green lawn at the same time?

One Raleigh home and business owner knew his answer to that question: Spend tens of thousands of dollars, and dig a big canyon.

Charles Winston said he came up with idea of a water harvesting system while pondering ways to keep irrigating at his restaurant, Winston's Grille.

He wanted to keep watering his grass and flowers despite water-use restrictions, Winston said.

"We just felt like with water conservation being an important part of what's going on we would try to do our part," he said.

Sustainable Building Solutions dug a small canyon in Winston's yard to install a well and 26,000-gallon tank that will collect and reuse rainwater.

"The 26,000 gallons in his yard will give him two to three weeks of water," Bobby Ferrel, with Sustainable Building Solutions, said. "And then what the plan is, we're taking his irrigation system completely off city water."

At Winston's Grille, a 20,000-gallon, above-ground tank will collect rainwater and condensation from the air conditioning unit.

"We started talking about our roof, which collects 8,000 gallons," Winston said. "We've been up there in a rainstorm, and it's like a flood coming off the roof."

Similar water-harvesting systems run between $50,000 and $70,000. Despite the high price tag, Winston said that with water running so low, deciding to buy his own system did not take much figuring.

"It is a big investment, but it's kind of one of those things where my whole life, I've been one of those jump first, then figure it out later," Winston said.

Sustainable Building Solutions also sells smaller systems, including a 350-gallon rain barrel, that start around $800.

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  • kstor33 Feb 29, 2008

    RickChase...the amount is negligible. Also, that water has to be treated at a plant first so it will be potable. What Winston's is doing is bypassing that and using rainwater to water landscaping. That way he doesn't use what would otherwise be drinking water for outside watering.

  • Sigil O Degra Feb 29, 2008

    I'm new to the area, but if our drinking water comes from lakes, doesn't saving rainwater keep it from running back in to the lake?

  • TheDecider Feb 29, 2008

    Wow! Winstons has offered great service and great food for many years (their prime rib is awesome), I am very impressed by such a big investment and committment to civic duty.

  • kstor33 Feb 29, 2008

    Well...I'll be!! Finally!! I guess necessity really is the mother of invention. This fellow has won my heart. Someone with the kahunas to start a trend, a positive trend. I have every intention of patronizing his business JUST BECAUSE he's trying to find a good solution to this drought. There are so many restaurants in Raleigh to choose from. IMHO...I believe this guy just set himself apart from the competition with a skyrocket.
    Now...let's see if Pepsico and NCSU will step up to the plate...hmmmm?