Rooftop Rainwater Harvesting
Collecting, storing and using rainwater at home
Rain harvesting, also known as rainwater collection or rainwater catchment, is an ancient practice that we have been using since roughly 10,000 years ago during the Neolithic age and fortunately, it is becoming increasingly popular again. According to the World Health Organization, besides being widely practiced in low-income and mid-income countries, “it is becoming a focus of increased interest in developed countries” as well.
Water is one of the biggest environmental challenges that we have on our planet. Our planet’s population is expected to reach 10 billion people by 2050, adding even more pressure on such an essential resource, making the increasing interest in rainwater harvesting great news!
Despite being a great eco-friendly solution for our planet, the rainwater, when properly collected and stored, can become a valuable resource to any household, especially in times when water shortage is becoming an increasing source of concern to more and more people in several cities around the globe.
Using rainwater in our homes is an easy and efficient way to effectively conserve water supply and cooperate for reduced use of water, saving it for the future generations. Its use is viable in urban buildings
Where can we use the stored rainwater?
Stored rainwater when adequately treated, can be used to supply all the residential needs including drinking and cooking.
Even if not filtered, the collected rainwater can be widely used in our daily lives for activities such as garden watering, car washing, toilet flushing, household cleaning, laundry among others.
According to a report from the Water Research Foundation published in April 2016, the main responsible for water usage in the average household is the toilet flushing (24%), shower (20%), faucet (19%), clothes washer (17%) and leak (12%). If collected rainwater could replace just the water used for flushing, it would already make a huge difference!
What is a rainwater collection system
Collecting and storing rainwater can be easily achieved and managed at a domestic level. The required investment can vary a lot according to the project. There are three important types of rainwater system:
It is the most popular among the more sophisticated residential rainwater harvesting systems, partially due to its relatively easy installation process. It requires a pump within an underground tank. Once the tank receives the collected rainwater, it will pump directly to the locations where it will be used. This method can have a variation with the use of a suction pump within the house instead of a pump in the underground tank.
This system consists of having a high-level water tank that will receive the pumped rainwater. Then, the rainwater can reach its destination either by gravity or by using a booster pump suited to serve the desired pressure and flow.
Pros and cons of rain harvesting
- Easy to maintain and store
- A noticeable reduction in water bills
- More suitable for irrigation of crops and watering of plants in lawns
- A reduction in demand on groundwater
- Prevents floods and soil erosion
- Meets several non-drinking needs
- Rainfall is quite unpredictable, so you still may need to rely on alternative sources
- Initial cost can be high depending on the chosen system
- Requires regular maintenance
- A limited storage capacity
How to get started
Before you decide to take your initial steps towards building a rainwater harvesting system on your rooftop, you must keep in mind how much rain your home will be exposed to. The map below, from National Centers for Environmental Information, shows what regions are exposed to above of average levels of rainfall.
Considering that your decision to take one further step to live an off the grid life is taken and your new rooftop rainwater harvesting system is soon to become a reality,
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