With the level of rainfall we experience in Ireland, rainwater harvesting can be a great way to utilise our natural resource. Take a look at our comprehensive guide to rainwater harvesting to see how the system works and the benefits it offers.
What is rainwater harvesting?
Rainwater harvesting is a method of collecting and storing rainwater for alternative uses in everything from landscape irrigation to washing clothes. Rainwater is collected from solid surfaces such as roofs and guttering, usually using water butts or containers. Depending on the intended use of the water, more sophisticated systems may need to be installed.
How does it work?
When it rains, the water collects on the catchment area (i.e. the roof or other solid surfaces) and is transported to the storage area using guttering and drainpipes. Before this water can enter the storage tank, it is filtered to remove any large debris. The storage tank can be placed above or underground, but it is advisable to keep it away from direct sunlight as this may encourage the growth of algae. Storage tanks should also be placed close to the area of use to reduce the distance of travel and preferably elevated, to take advantage of gravity flow. The water can be gravity fed or pumped to the area of use, and pipes must be clearly marked as a non-potable water supply.
What are the Benefits?
The collection of rainwater will prevent flooding, which is particularly important if you are living near a hill or sloped area. It is also beneficial to the environment in that it reduces erosion in garden and field areas and controls storm water run-off.
Reduces Water Bills
Using rainwater supply for everyday appliances such as washing machines significantly reduces a household’s reliance on the mains water supply and thus reduces water bills. While more sophisticated water collection systems may be expensive to install, the reduction in water bills over time will offset this expense.
Reduces Demand on Public System
Installing rainwater collection systems reduces the demand in your local community’s water supply system and thus reduces strain on the public system.
Improves plant growth
Rainwater can reduce salt build up on plants and is the most natural way to tend to your garden, as it is free from pollutants and chemicals.