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What is Rainwater Harvesting?

The responsible solution for healthy landscape irrigation.

Overview

Rainwater harvesting is a technology used to collect, convey and store rain from relatively clean surfaces such as a roof, land surface or rock catchment for later use. This is water that would otherwise have gone down the drainage system, into the ground or been lost to the atmosphere via evaporation. The water is generally stored in a rainwater tank or directed into mechanisms that can recharge groundwater. Rainwater harvesting can provide water for human consumption, reduce water bills and lessen the need to build reservoirs which may require the use of valuable land.

Rainwater harvesting has been practiced for over 4,000 years throughout the world. It has provided drinking water, domestic water, water for livestock, water for small irrigation and a way to replenish ground water levels. Traditionally, rainwater harvesting has been practiced in arid and semiarid areas. It has become an integral part of societies in remote places where piping water and reliance on wells is not an option.rainharvesting_1.bmp

Rainwater harvesting in urban areas and cities can have diverse benefits. Providing supplemental water for the city’s requirements, increasing soil moisture levels for urban greenery, increasing the ground water table through artificial recharge, mitigating urban flooding and improving the quality of groundwater are a few of the many benefits. In homes and buildings, collected rainwater can be used for irrigation, flushing toilets and washing laundry. In hard water areas rainwater is superior to city water for non-potable use. With proper filtration and treatment, harvested rainwater can also be used for showering, bathing, or drinking.

Rainwater harvesting is also effective in reducing stormwater runoff pollution into the watershed. When rain falls, it is clean, but it immediately picks up pollutants from rooftops and pavement. This pollution is carried into storm drains and then into streams. Collecting stormwater from rooftops and directing it to storage tanks so it can be used in and around a building decreases the volume and rate of stormwater runoff.

Sustainability

Rainwater harvesting is one of the most promising alternatives for supplying water in the face of increasing water scarcity and escalating demand. The pressures on water supplies, greater environmental impact associated with new projects as well as deteriorating water quality in reservoirs already constructed, constrain the ability of communities to meet the demand for freshwater from traditional sources. Rainwater harvesting presents an opportunity for augmentation of water supplies allowing for self-reliance and sustainability. Sustaining the environment contributes to the overall conservation of our precious natural resources.

Simple rainwater harvesting systems, such as rainbarrels, are great for collecting small volumes of water for use in residential gardens or for watering plants around the home. However, to fully reap the benefits of the huge amounts of rain that run off a roof during a storm, a fully-integrated rainwater irrigation system should be considered. With such a system, rain water passes from a roof, through a gutter system, into large cisterns (water tanks) and gets distributed through common underground sprinklers. Since a properly designed system does not rely on any groundwater resources, most installations can be exempt from certain watering restrictions. In fact, many local and regional water resource officials encourage the harvesting of rainwater as part of responsible conservation practices.

Interested in a rain water collection system for your residential or commercial property? Contact us today to schedule a free estimate.

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