Rainwater harvesting is exactly that – harvesting, or collecting rainwater as it runs off of impervious surfaces, and then storing it to use any time you want to. Traditionally, this involves collecting water from the roof which is directed to gutters, then it is channelled by these gutters, into downspouts which then direct the water into some sort of container. Rainwater collection has been around for such a long time, it just lost a bit of popularity over time, but as we move into an environmentally friendly age, it seems to be regaining in popularity.
The art of rainwater collection was forgotten for a very long time, but it’s making a bit of a comeback, with this environmentally friendly age we are moving into. For example, due to the Green Building Movement, you may begin to see more rainwater harvesting systems being implemented in America.
A rainwater collection system can be as simple as collecting rain in a water tight barrel, or something a tad more elaborate, like harvesting the rainwater into large cisterns to supply your household with their water supply.
Mind you, the use of rainwater collection is not to be confused with the use of grey water. Grey water is that water which is not dirty but it’s also not completely clean. It’s the leftover water from your bath or shower and your washing machine water (when it’s been on a rinse cycle), the water which is neither considered dirty, nor completely clean. This water can however also be collected and used on the garden, provided that not a lot of soap/detergent has been used. I’ll talk more about grey water soon in another blog.
There are many different benefits you could get from rainwater collection, including the obvious one – it is free.
Harvesting your own rainwater gives you the freedom to manage your own water supply, you have complete control over it. Not to mention that you’d be helping to conserve water around the world, whilst promoting self sufficiency. Your garden would definitely benefit if you got into the habit of collecting rainwater too, as it’s better than the chlorinated, treated water from the taps – it is 100% natural after all! Implementing this system doesn’t have to be expensive at all, and it’s easy to retrofit to a building. These systems can also be very flexible, allowing to change their size, or move them if and when necessary.
All you need to do to take advantage of this resource is to catch the (free) water falling onto your roof, store it, and use it. That’s all there is to it. By implementing this simple system into your home, you can replace most, if not all of your water needs, saving you money!
You could achieve all of this, by the simple act of putting a bucket outside to collect water, and using it to wash your car, or your pet instead of the taps. It’s easy really.
Written by Jade Turney – Building Tectonics.