Rainwater harvesting is an effective strategy for reducing your water consumption at home. It’s also one way to contribute to the stormwater management programs in your state, reducing the load of our public drainage systems.
You can reuse the rainwater you collect for various purposes, from watering your gardens to storing it as a back-up source in case of emergencies. Collecting rainwater not only lowers your water bill, but it also helps your household become more self-sufficient and sustainable.
Below are easy ways to harvest and store rainwater for home use.
Rain gardens are a popular landscaping choice for homeowners who are looking to reduce their water consumption. The garden has a depression in the middle, planted with grass and perennials that filter rainwater as it seeps into the soil.
These rain gardens offer many benefits. For one, they prevent erosion by holding the soil in place with their roots. Second, the rainwater you collect serves as natural irrigation for the plans. This means you won’t have to water the garden as much, helping you conserve water.
Native plants are often used for rain gardens since they absorb and hold water well. Grow plants that tolerate wet conditions on the bottom of the concave garden. Then, place plants that need less water on the edges.
Water Catchment System for Roofs
Collecting runoff from your roof is a popular method of rainwater harvesting. All you need is a water catchment system, such as a cistern or rain barrel. Roof catchment systems usually work in the same way, directing the water to the gutters, then to the storage container at the end of the downspout.
The barrel or cistern has either a tap or hose so that you can fetch water for your garden or washing your car. Add a screen on the top of your catchment to prevent leaves and debris from falling in. Also, you need to empty the barrel at least once a week to keep mosquitoes from using it as a breeding site.
Keep in mind that rainwater picks up pollution and bacteria as it flows down your roof and gutters. So, use your harvested rainwater for non-potable purposes only. If you’re planning to use it for drinking, you need to have the water filtered, purified, and tested first. ;
You can use a first flush diverter to help avoid some contaminants. This device diverts the first rain away from your catchment system. The first pass of water in any storm is often the dirtiest since it washes away the sediments that have collected on your roof since the last rain.
Green roofs offer a wealth of benefits. They’re effective insulation for your home as well as rainwater capture areas. A typical green roof has a liner, insulation, drainage system, planting medium, and drought-tolerant, low-maintenance plants. The rainwater is retained in the roof’s multiple substrate and drainage layers.
Rainwater harvested through the roof is diverted to the plants, which keeps your green roof lush. You can also channel the runoff to a storage tank via the rainwater drainage pipe.
The substrate layers and vegetation on the roof absorb the pollution in the water. This means the rainwater you collect would have gone through a filtration process before you reuse it. However, you still want to limit your recaptured rainwater for non-potable use only.
Check with your local government first before you start collecting rainwater. In some areas, rainwater is considered as the property of the state, so you can’t harvest it. You can get answers by researching online or going to your environmental quality department or health department.
Once you’ve confirmed that rainwater harvesting is allowed in your state, you can ask the local health department how to safely store and purify rainwater and rooftop runoff.