Rainwater Harvesting 101: 4 Things To Know
Using rainwater harvesting for domestic and agricultural purposes has been practiced for years all over the world. Throughout this process, people harvest and use rainwater from roofs, leaves, and surface runoff in ponds and dams.
Due to changing global weather patterns, more and more people experience severe water shortages for household, livestock, and agricultural use, not to mention soil erosion. Thus, rainwater harvesting for home and agricultural use continues to be an essential practice today.
This article is intended to provide information on rainwater harvesting.
Rainwater Harvesting Defined
Rainwater harvesting refers to the process of collecting rainwater from a roof or other surface and utilizing it to supplement water sources. After collection, people can then opt to store the collected rainwater for future use. Fortunately, there are a lot of options to store rainwater, such as the use of water tanks. The goal of harvesting water is to reuse it rather than letting it runoff. Rainwater may be used in homes, farms, and even in big businesses.
Types Of Rainwater Harvesting System
Rainwater harvesting technology collects and stores rainwater for different uses. From simple rain barrels to more complicated systems with pumps, tanks, and purifying systems, you can find various types of rainwater collecting systems. Non-potable water can be used to irrigate gardens, flush toilets, wash cars, and even wash clothes. Moreover, rainwater harvesting systems can supply families and businesses with water during dry seasons.
It’s possible to collect rainwater using a variety of methods, including the following:
This is the simplest and most cost-effective method. Simply install barrels or water tanks below your gutter downspouts. This tank can be used with drip irrigation.
Typically, the dry system is a scaled-up barrel system. This approach collects rainwater in a much larger container than a barrel. You put the container or tank close to your property and direct rainwater into the tank using a gutting system.
The dry system gets its name because the pipes that collect the water run dry after the rain stops. The pipelines don’t store water themselves but direct it to the storage container.
Unlike rain barrels and dry systems, wet systems have underground pipes. When it rains, water runs from gutters to underground pipelines, which then rise vertically into tanks. They’re labeled wet systems since the pipes never dry up between rain periods. Water in the piping attracts mosquitoes and anaerobic fermentation. So, periodically screen and empty the pipes. Wet systems are more aesthetically beautiful than rain barrels and dry systems since the pipes are underground and the tanks can be put farther away from the house.
The Rainwater Harvesting System Process
Rainwater harvesting is based on three simple principles: collect, store, and use. The systems must have certain components and involve different processes to work well.
To ensure that rainwater as your primary water source will bring many benefits to your household, farm, or business, be mindful of the following considerations:
- Rainwater needs to be clean, odorless, and pleasant. The water must be disinfected with ultraviolet light to remove bacteria.
- Water storage should be hygienic, slime-free, and odor-free.
- Rainwater needs to be flowing at the maximum pressure possible while remaining within safe limits.
The system should be tailored to the household’s needs. Ask questions like, ‘How many square feet of roof will be able to collect rain?’ ‘How much rain is falling here annually/monthly?’ ‘Are the storing containers enough for a sufficient buffer to provide the house without difficulty, even during rain lapses?’ These will help you come up with a design that will suit your needs.
Mentioned above are the factors that contribute to a good mechanism for collecting rainwater, although there can be more. When all is said and done, people who harvest rainwater are now able to turn on the water and go about their business. Sure, you want perfect water at every tap. This is only possible if all system components are carefully structured and interconnected.
Rainwater Harvesting Laws
Rainwater laws are supposed to find a balance between ensuring individual rights to obtain water and preventing unfair use or pollution. While rainwater regulations may vary due to water supply, most places follow a legal concept known as ‘reasonable use.’ As its name suggests, the minimum amount of rainwater homeowners is allowed to collect will be proportional to the reasonable amount they’re expected to use.
Make sure you can legally harvest rainwater before you start because harvesting rainwater is banned in several regions. Check your local and state regulations before purchasing materials for the harvest. Fortunately, most places allow and promote rainwater harvesting.
Is A Rain Harvesting System Worth the Money?
This is a personal choice based on your situation and objectives. As you take into consideration the potential benefits you’ll enjoy, keep in mind that the cost of setting up a water collecting system may take several years to pay off. However, saving money isn’t the only motivation people have for starting this process.
Some people collect rainwater to feel good about offsetting some of their water use, especially in water-scarce or-expensive places. Others have a desire for a readily available chlorine-free water supply. Moreover, some people like to be self-sufficient and secure by having water stored at home.
Rainwater harvesting offers more environmental benefits than you realize. Aside from saving money, you’ll be protecting the environment by cutting carbon emissions and growing healthy plants. However, you have to be mindful of a few essential considerations to ensure that you can efficiently harvest rainwater and use it for your daily needs. The guide above should help you get started.