What is “Purple Water”?

We get this question all the time. We’re glad you asked.

Put simply a Purple Water System is one where rainwater is captured in anything from a rain barrel to a cistern and used. The practice of catching rainwater is called rainwater harvesting or rainwater catchment.

Most correctly, a Purple Water Sytem is one where rainwater is used in the interior of a building typically for non-potable purposes like flushing toilets or washing clothes.

This is a different concept than greywater. Greywater systems employ a strategy for the use and re-use of water down a scale toward either returning it to the watershed or final contamination~”Blackwater”~ which requires treatment. A Purple Water System can be the water supply for a greywater system.

The next question we hear is “Where does the term ‘purple water’ come from?”

Often, people will ask us if we made up the term “purple water”. We didn’t. It comes from the plumbing code which requires reclaimed water systems in buildings to be conveyed through purple pipes as a way of differentiating from the municipal water supply.

At Portland Purple Water, we think that using rain where it falls should be a fundamental practice. We hope you’ll agree. We think that idea is important enough that we’ve built a company to help homeowners and businesses do just this. Our company handles rainwater from the rooftop until it leaves the property. We are a full service gutter company, we build rain gardens, and we specialize in the design and installation of purple water systems. Perhaps you are looking for 55 gallon rain barrels, you’ve found the right company. Maybe you are looking for something larger, a 550 or 2500 gallon cistern, we can help.

Please take a few moments to browse the pages of this website and see a little bit of what we have to offer. We are always developing and innovating so check back from time to time. Feel free to give us a call or drop us a note. We all live in watersheds, we’d love to help you live harmoniously in yours.


Jason Garvey, owner and founder

Portland Purple Water LLC

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Portland Purple Water LLC 503-922-3583 CCB#: 187045 WA#: portpw913ob