Rainwater Harvesting 101: Intro to Rain Catchment for the Home

Close up the pouring purified fresh drink water from the bottle on table in living room
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Of all of the utilities you use on a daily basis, one of the ones you use most often but think the least about is water. However, this necessity isn’t something to take for granted.

About one in every eight people in the world don’t have access to clean water. Those who do have this resource don’t always use it the most wisely, either, with as much as 40% of household water consumption being used for irrigation in the average American home. However, there is a solution to increase availability of water resources as well as using the water in your own home more efficiently: rainwater harvesting.

What is rainwater harvesting?

Rainwater harvesting is exactly what it sounds like: using rainfall to supplement existing water supplies for your home. Most of the time, any rainwater that is harvested is used for non-potable purposes, like watering your plants or other situations where it doesn’t need to be treated.

However, certain rainwater harvesting systems can be designed to include treatment systems and water pumps, allowing this rainwater to be used in the home for washing or even drinking. No matter the size or capabilities, rainwater harvesting systems help to cut down on water use within the home while providing a sustainable means of water consumption.

How are rainwater catchment systems built?

Each rainwater catchment system is going to vary in its components depending on what it’s designed to do. For example, a rainwater system that’s only going to be used for watering plants will be much smaller and have fewer treatment systems in place than a rainwater system that’s going to be used to help supplement water for washing in the home. However, all rainwater systems have some things in common in their design.

Rainwater catchment systems rely on rainfall on the roof. The roof will need to be well cleaned and, preferably, made of a material that allows for increased efficiency of rainwater collection, like metal. Metal roofs also can help save as much as 25% off of your annual home energy bill, making them a great choice for the environmentally-minded. Rainwater will flow down the roof into the pipe systems of rainwater catchment systems, where it’s then stored in a water tank. This tank will have filters to avoid leaves and debris entering the tank. From here, some systems will further treat the water and pump it inside the home, while others will simply store the water in the tank for outdoor use.

In addition to being great at catching water, metal roofs also can help save as much as 25% off of your annual home energy bill.

Why is this important?

Believe it or not, water is a more valuable source than many people give it credit for, and it’s one that can cause significant strain on American infrastructure without the general public noticing. Wastewater treatment facilities in the United States process approximately 34 billion gallons of wastewater every day, most of it from standard household use. Using rainwater catchment systems, along with other green water systems like greywater tanks, can help reduce water consumption across the nation, protecting this valuable resource.

Would you install a rainwater harvesting system on your home? Do you already have one? Comment with your thoughts on this unique method of reducing water consumption and going green.

Image credit: Cozine via Adobe Stock

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