Reflo Harvests Rainwater in Milwaukee Metro

by: Barbara Richards
17:01 Jul 12 2014 Milwaukee, WI, USA

Reflo Harvests Rainwater in Milwaukee Metro
Why should we work towards a Great Lakes Commons and how ?
Reflo Stories

We are Reflo - Sustainable Water Solutions. The mission of Reflo is to become a leader in sustainable water use, green infrastructure and water management in urban environments. Grounded in strong client relationships and community partnerships, we will provide cost effective and sustainable solutions for rainwater and greywater use. We will accomplish our objectives through education, research, and the implementation of water projects that are rewarding for individuals, local communities, and the organizations that support them.

The Need: The City of Waukesha wants Lake Michigan water so they have "enough". If they would implement water harvesting on a general scale then they wouldn't need so much. If Milwaukee could implement this we could keep non source pollutants from Lake Michigan.

Examples: Reflo installed a two tote rainwater harvesting system for St Francis Community Garden for the 2013 growing season. In the fall of 2013, as a follow-up to the installation, Reflo conducted an education event and harvest celebration to train garden members in the seasonal care for the system.

Reflo installed a single tote rain water harvesting system in the fall of 2013 for a Milwaukee homeowner. This resident also owns a double lot next to their home and converted the entire space into a personal urban garden. This is a showcase garden as the resident is the former director of Milwaukee Urban Gardens (MUG). MUG is a local organization that works with the City of Milwaukee and community gardens to permit use of empty city lots for gardening.

Reflo assisted in the City of Milwaukee's recent urban agriculture code changes that expand the City's recognition and support of urban agriculture and rainwater harvesting. These changes included definitions for structures which have a primary function to aid in urban gardening and/or water harvesting. It also included zoning changes which support the land use needs for this important movement.

Reflo is currently involved in the following projects:

- Guest House: Reflo is managing the development of the first Rainwater Harvesting Structure to go through the new City of Milwaukee urban agriculture permitting process. The project includes the structure, a two tote rainwater harvesting system, a rain garden to manage the overflow, half an acre of raised bed and row crop gardens, artistic opportunities for children and educational signage. This project will be used to support the programming of the Guest House, one of the largest homeless shelters for males in Milwaukee.

- Parkside School for the Arts: Reflo collaboratively redesigned the school's underutilized courtyard to incorporate green infrastructure and promote science and art curriculum in an outdoor classroom setting. The design process engaged the school's faculty and 7th and 8th graders over the course of several planning sessions hosted by Reflo and Arts@Large. This process recently culminated in a large fundraising and community outreach event with over 300 students and community members in attendance.

- 3rd and Walker: Reflo is currently working with Walker's Point residents, Arts@Large, UW-Extension, and other partner organizations and artists to collaboratively redesign the under utilized park on the corner of 3rd and Walker. The park will be transformed into a space that incorporates green infrastructure, urban agriculture, and artistic community pieces, while maintaining the cultural aspirations of the local neighborhood. The concept of rotating educational, artistic, and community related programing will be incorporated into the project as the space is being developed. .

- Milwaukee Environmental Sciences School (MES): Reflo helped develop and manage a rainwater harvesting plan. Phase one will be implemented in the fall of 2014 and includes diverting an internal drainage system to a special collection tank designed by an emerging local company. This project will be the first of its kind for the City of Milwaukee’s School District and the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District. The harvested rainwater will be used in the school's planned urban agriculture plots and educational programing. For additional phases of this project, Reflo has conceptualized what we're calling "eco-system hubs" that will replace sections of asphalt playgrounds and modify existing storm sewer systems to promote native landscaping and student ecosystem learning. This project will be closely documented by Reflo and the MES project team with the intent of replicating the design at other schools.

See our website below for full details and get in touch to support this work locally or across the Great Lakes.
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