Water is essentially a free resource that can be accessed naturally. As the world’s population grows, so does the demand for processed supply water. Using water sustainably can help keep the supply and demand in balance.
Using Rainwater Harvesting (RWH) for potable and nonpotable purposes in both residential and commercial buildings is the most conventional and sustainable way. This could help ease pressure on processed supply water, resulting in a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.
What is Rainwater Harvesting?
Rainwater harvesting serves multiple purposes, including giving potable water to consumers during a crisis, recharging groundwater, and minimizing runoff and water logging during rainy seasons. This approach can make use of traditional knowledge, skills, and resources.
Individuals can self-manage their water supply during the rainy season by collecting it on their roof and storing it. For personal or domestic usage, you can save rooftop rainwater for future use. A piped network can also collect and store water from several roofs along a street. Using deep wells, ponds, and reservoirs to dilute recovered water for nonpotable uses, this water can recharge the groundwater directly.
Quality of Rainwater
The quality of captured rainwater is critical since it might make drinking water. The quality of roof-captured water is determined by both the quality of the roof and the surrounding environmental circumstances, such as local climate, air pollution, and so on.
Before we may use it as drinking water, tests must determine its viability and application. There have been previous studies that found that uncovered water collection had a negative impact on water quality. We could also classify rainwater as a non-potable supply for washing, toilet flushing, gardening, and other use when quality isn’t a major concern. The treatment of collected water isn’t important in this case because we will use it for household purposes.
You can collect from your whole collection surface and several gutters and downspouts with this method. You can also be place the tank outside of your home.
However, because of underground pipes and a sufficient difference between gutters and tank inlet, this design is more expensive to implement.
Different Methods to Collect Water
The only difference between the following methods is the system’s scale. Each one follows the same fundamentals, but differ in terms of aesthetics and practical efficacy in conserving water.
- Rain Barrels
This is the most common method, and most people are familiar with it. Installing a barrel at a gutter downspout to collect rainwater is the first step. The rain barrel itself could be a recycled or new commercially available rain barrel.
Photo Courtesy: iStock
It is simple to implement in any household, and barrels are widely available in your neighborhood or online at many stores and websites. Barrels also don’t take up a lot of space, thus they may be used in almost any setting.
However, because the capacity of this sort of rainwater harvesting is often only 50 to 100 gallons, it frequently overflows and wastes collection possibilities.
- “Dry” System
This method is like that of a rain barrel, but it requires a larger storage capacity. Because it empties straight into the top of the tank, the collection pipe “dries” after each rain event.
Photo Courtesy: Coerco Agriculture
This method can store a large amount of rainwater and is ideal for climates where large storm events occur frequently. It is also less expensive to install and has a simpler system, making maintenance simpler.
The storage tank, however, must be close to your home in this setup.
- “Wet” System
To connect many downspouts from separate gutters, this method entails burying the collection of pipes underground. Rainwater will fill the subsurface piping, rising through the vertical pipes until it pours into the tank. Watertight connections are required for downspouts and underground collecting pipework. The tank inlet must be below the lowest gutter on the house.
Benefits of Rainwater Harvesting
Rainwater harvesting is a long-term water management strategy, and we can apply it at any level, from a basic rain barrel to an integrated system that works with an irrigation system or household plumbing.
Learn more about the benefits of rainwater harvesting in terms of water conservation, economy, and of the environment to understand why it is socially acceptable and environmentally responsible, promoting self-sufficiency.
Water Conservation Benefits
- To a significant extent, the rainfall that is collected on your roof and in your yard is completely free. It only takes a way to collect water and store it in a tank or cistern for later use.
- Harvesting rainwater that falls naturally in the community can lessen the requirement for imported water in communities who rely on it for their needs.
- Rainwater harvesting aids utilities in reducing summer demand peaks and saves treated water for more critical water uses.
- When used as an educational tool, rainwater collection can help individuals become more aware of how much water they consume on a daily or household basis. You might persuade them to conserve water in other regions of your residence, too!
- While rainwater is an excellent primary water source for a variety of applications and situations, it also serves as an excellent backup water supply in emergency situations.
- You can save money on your water bill by storing and using rainwater instead of municipal water.
- Irrigation uses a lot of municipal water, and reducing that usage reduces the amount of water that a municipality has to clean and pump. As a result, this reduces a municipality’s water service costs.
- A municipality’s service area can lower its long-term water development demands by implementing widespread rainwater collection, allowing it to make better use of its existing water infrastructure investments. Every year, the cost of supplying purified water to the community rises. Dams and pipes, as well as treatment plants and pipelines, are expensive to build and maintain. The community’s water ratepayers will be the ones to foot the bill for this escalating cost. As a result, rainwater harvesting can help communities save money on their potable water supply by reducing demand.
- Rainwater collecting system design and installation can create long-term jobs for the future economy. One of the most promising green infrastructure industries is rainwater harvesting.
- Rainwater harvesting can help a property reduce its storm water flow. Eliminating runoff can reduce contamination of surface water with pesticides, sediment, metals, and fertilizers.
- Rainwater harvesting reduces storm water runoff, which reduces peak flow volume and velocity in local creeks, streams, and rivers, minimizing the risk of stream bank erosion.
- Because it is free of pollutants like fluoride and chloramines, it is an excellent source of water for plants and landscape irrigation (chlorine).
Rainwater harvesting is important for several reasons, but one of the most significant is that we are reaching the limits of our water conservation efforts within our homes, driving a shift to looking outside for alternative options.
- I.W.S. (n.d.). RAINWATER HARVESTING 101. Innovative Water Solutions. Retrieved April 11, 2022, from https://www.watercache.com/education/rainwater-harvesting-101
- Rahman Et Al., S. (2013, November 14). Sustainability of Rainwater Harvesting System in terms of Water Quality. Hindawi. Retrieved April 11, 2022, from https://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2014/721357/
- Maxwell-Gaines, C. (n.d.). What are the Benefits and Advantages of Rainwater Harvesting? Innovative Water Solutions. Retrieved April 11, 2022, from https://www.watercache.com/faqs/rainwater-harvesting-benefits#:~:text=The%20Environmental%20Benefits%20of%20Rainwater%20Harvesting%201%20Rainwater,no%20chemicals%20such%20as%20fluoride%20and%20chloramines%20%28chlorine%29.