Water is a very precious resource, in fact one of the most precious. We often take it for granted and use water as if it were an inexhaustible natural resource. But it is not, and that’s why harvesting rainwater is becoming a popular trend in suburbia these days.
By harvesting rainwater, you can avoid suffering during drought and prepare you for other water emergencies. Much like what has happened in cities like Cape Town in South Africa, where there is a water crisis. The city is soon without running water and residents are receiving water rations from the council. Imagin no drinking water? No water for cleaning or showering?
You may not live in a crisis area or dry climate, but using rainwater is also a great way of saving water and using what nature gives us at no cost.
The good news is there are some very simple and amazing techniques you can use for harvesting rainwater. By trying one of these five methods, you too can tap into this natural source of water and become more energy-efficient.
Install a Rain Water Barrel
Installing rain barrels is one of the simplest and most affordable ways of collecting rainwater. It is as simple as getting a barrel and positioning it below a downspout of your gutter system. You can buy a new barrel, they are not expensive or even make your own.
The rain that falls on your roof will be diverted into the barrel and stop if being wasted. To protect the water from the outside elements or mosquitos, you can place a lid on top of it. And to prevent algae from growing inside, make sure that the barrel is not translucent since the sun can induce algae growth.
I also recommend using the water as soon as possible so it’s not left standing for too long. You can use it to do the washing, water the garden or filter it for drinking water (to remove any residue).
Create a Dry System
Dry systems are basically a bigger and improved version of rain barrels. They are large water container with bigger storage capacity, made from durable materials which reduce contamination. They are perfect for areas with good rainfall and especially for homes with limited water access or plumbing.
Aside from collecting rainwater directly from fall, these containers can also be connected to the gutter system that directs the rainwater into it.
The water is then stored in the tank and keeps for longer periods before use. This is called a “dry” system because the pipes which collect water dry up after every rain event.
Build a Rain Chain
A rain chain is another simple solution for harvesting rainwater. It is an alternative to using pipes and downspouts.
Rain chains are attached to the collecting pipe and transports water downwards toward a storage unit or towards your garden instead of a drain. This way the water is used instead of wasted.
They do become rusted, as expected, so the water may not be ideal for drinking unless filtered properly. However, the water can definitely be used for household or garden needs.
Set up a Rain Garden
Rain gardens are a great way to use the excess water your yard receives during heavy rains and storms, and to prevent its saturation. They are created by digging up a small hole, a basin, in your yard which is then filled up with compost or mulch and your favourite native plants.
The mulch is used to collect and remove pollutants and dirt from the fresh water so that your garden can grow healthy. It can be used during the whole year, it looks great, and has a great impact on the environment.
Install a Green Roof
Green roofs are an interesting and innovative way of collecting rainwater, and their popularity is increasingly growing. Their installation is not as simple as the other techniques, and it may be more costly, but this solution pays off significantly in the long run.
This harvesting method is a little different from the rest. Instead of collecting the water to then use for various activities, it is immediately repurposed to grow your green roof.
Firstly what is a Green Roof? It is essentially a rooftop garden, made up of several layers, including the soil, protective layer or lining, and a drainage system to take care of the excess runoff. As opposed to the other techniques, the rainwater is used right away, and your roof garden can thrive.
If obviously best used on roofs where you can access the surface and enjoy a roof garden installation.
Apart from harvesting rainwater to grow a green roof it is energy-efficient because it provides natural insulation, and reduces energy use for home temp control. It is very eco-friendly.
By collecting and using rainwater, you can be sure that your water is as natural as it gets. First of all, it is free, and setting up a rainwater harvesting system can be as elaborate as you choose it to be. From a simple chain to a full rooftop garden!
Second of all you and your home will become more energy-efficient, and you will even save money on your water and energy bills.