September 30

What Is Rain Harvesting and How Does It Work?

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by Jeff Jones

Collecting Rain Water

We all know to conserve our natural resources, but one many of us don’t consider as much is water. A great way to conserve water is rain harvesting.

Rain harvesting is a very simple process that’s been used for years. Basically, when rain falls, instead of letting it hit the ground and flow as runoff, you collect the rain water and use it for other purposes. Traditionally, this water has been used to put on plants that require more water than you get from the rain and other agricultural uses.

Rain

So how can you collect rain yourself at home? The easiest way to get started is to buy a rain barrel. These are large barrels that collect water that falls on them and funnels it inside. The water can then be used to water plants, feed animals or other outdoor water uses.

Figuring out your use

But you don’t need to stop with watering your plants; there are so many uses for rain water. In fact, with the right equipment, you can use rainwater for pretty much anything you’d use water from the city or a well for, even drinking. The key is having the right equipment to collect, store, pressurize, clean, and dispense it.

The first step in collecting water on a larger scale is figuring out how much you need. Depending on what you want to do with the water, you can find tables online that will tell you how many gallons you need to shower, drink, do dishes, flush the toilet, or any other use.

Rain Barrel

The next step in large scale rain collection is getting enough water. If you want to use rainwater on a large scale, a small barrel isn’t going to suffice. If you have a normal gutter system on your roof, you can collect water from there, or you can install or build a larger collection system. How big an area you need is going to depend on how much water you need and how much rainfall you get in a year.

Cleaning your rain water

Once you know how much water you need and have collected it, you need to get it to where it needs to go and of course clean it. While rainwater should theoretically be clean, it is often polluted by human factors. You can purchase or even make pumps to pressurize the water and get it where it’s going. If you’re using the water for drinking or dishes, you should consider buying a cleaning system for your water.

Why use rain water?

You may be thinking that your water bill isn’t that much every month, why go through all the trouble? Because water conservation is becoming more important every single day and every small bit can help.

If you pay attention to the news, politics, or everyday conversation, you’ve probably heard of global climate change. But what most people don’t realize is that with our current habits, we will be out of water long before there is a noticeable difference in the climate. If this sounds crazy, do a quick online search with the term “water law”. You’ll find all sorts of information about current fights over water rights.

Water Supply

What is important to know is that while rain harvesting is a great idea, it’s only a partial fix. In addition to collecting rainwater, we need to reduce the total amount of water we use. Take shorter showers, turn off the faucet when you’re brushing your teeth, water your lawn less, and take other steps to reduce your total water usage.


Tags

Green Living, Rain Collection, Rain Harvesting


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