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Learn about Rainwater Harvesting System

Rainwater Harvesting System

Rainwater harvesting is the ancient practice of collecting and using rainwater. A basic rainwater harvesting system consists of:

In the simplest application, rainwater is used to water lawns and gardens and to wash cars. However, more complicated systems can be connected to residential plumbing and be used for flushing toilets and washing clothes. These applications are more sophisticated and typically require a pressurized system with filters, pumps, wiring and underground tanks made of durable materials such as concrete or fiberglass. In applications where the water is to be potable (drinkable), water treatment technologies will need to be incorporated.

Make sure that your catchment area is large enough to harvest enough water for your purposes, especially if you don't have a back up source of water. You can calculate the amount of monthly rainfall collection you will get by materials can affect the quality and proportion of the harvested rainwater. To estimate how much rainfall you can collect in one month, find the average monthly rainfall in your region (mm) and measure the horizontal roof area (sq. meters). In metric units: area (sq. metres) x monthly rainfall (mm) x losses (typically 0.8) = volume of collected rainfall (Litres).

Some other considerations for rainfall harvesting systems are: <ul> <li> use a storage tank that it is made of food-grade material that won't degrade or leach chemicals.

For systems that will be connected to residential plumbing, it is important to consider pertinent codes, regulations, standards and municipal bylaws. Some plumbing codes, such as the National Plumbing Code of Canada and the Uniform Plumbing Code and California Plumbing Code in the U.S., have incorporated rainwater harvesting standards.

Rainwater harvesting can have multiple benefits for entire communities:

In hot climates, rainwater harvesting is becoming a common practice. For example, almost 50 per cent of the population in South Australia lives in houses equipped with a rainwater tank and rainwater harvesting is mandated for new homes in Queensland!