The ancient practice of harvesting water is a great method offering a lot of benefits to the modern society. Put the rain falling from the sky on your house to good use. Why wouldn’t you use this free natural source for your own purpose?
What is rainwater harvesting?
Rainwater harvesting is a way of collecting and storing rainwater from the roof of a building for later use. There are many ways to harvest rainwater, from a simple rain barrel under the downspout of a building’s gutters to a plumbing system making use of rainwater. The practice is not only popular among rural gardeners but also among people taking part of projects in urban farming.
The benefits of rainwater harvesting
Collecting rainwater offers many environmental and economic benefits. Firstly, harvesting rainwater helps control storm-water runoff, which reduces the risk of erosion in gardens and around downspouts and on top of that helps reduce the threat of flooding. Secondly, stored water can be used in large amounts for both outdoor and indoor uses. Landscape irrigation, watering gardens, toilet flushing , laundry and washing cars are great examples to put water to good use. Lastly, the method can help people save money on utility bills. The water is free, you only need to invest in a collection system. The roof of a 1,000 square-foot house can collect around 600 gallons per one inch of rain – enough water to fill 15 bathtubs!
How to harvest rainwater at home
There are a few questions which you should ask yourself before getting started. Consider for what purpose you want to use rainwater – the amount of rainwater needed depends on your plan of action. Furthermore, check whether it is permitted to harvest rainwater in your area – consult with your local government before setting up a harvesting system.
Rainwater harvesting systems
- Catchment area: an area that first captures the rainfall; the roof of a building
- Conveyance system: way of moving water from the roof to gutters or downspouts
- Storage system: A barrel, cistern or thank which collects water for later use
- Distribution system: way of moving water from the storage system to watering can or irrigation system.
Starters can best use the barrel-under-a-downspout system. Rainwater barrels cost approximately $100 and should include a spigot that allows users to easily fill up watering cans or attach a hose.