How to Harvest Rainwater for the Best Green Summer Ever

How to Harvest Rainwater for the Best Green Summer Ever

As summer draws near and the temperatures rise, it’s crucial to stay cool while being aware of water consumption.
Embrace eco-friendly rainwater harvesting this summer, making the most of the season while conserving water.

 

What is Rainwater harvesting?

When you hear the term “rainwater harvesting,” what comes to mind? You may imagine its application in farming or supporting communities in developing countries. Rainwater harvesting has gained popularity and is now widely embraced by individuals, businesses, and communities worldwide. It transforms how we think about water conservation and management, from residential properties to commercial buildings.

Rainwater harvesting collects and stores rainwater that falls on non-absorbent surfaces like roofs and pavements. The collected rainwater can be used as a sustainable and economical water source for different purposes.

You may have heard it referred to by different names, such as rainwater or rooftop water collection. Still, the underlying concept remains the same – capturing and utilising rainwater for various purposes.

 

Rainwater Harvesting Benefits

Here are the top reasons why you should consider embracing Rainwater Harvesting:

Benefit 1: Cost Saving on Water Bills

In the summer, we use more water for activities such as watering plants, filling pools, and taking extra showers to stay cool. This increase in water usage can significantly skyrocket our water bills. Fortunately, rainwater harvesting is a solution that can help reduce these costs. Studies show homeowners who implement rainwater harvesting with adequate storage and filtration systems can save between 40% and 50% on their water bills while saving a splurge from their wallet.

Did you know that collecting rainwater can help reduce the amount of treated water used unnecessarily? It’s surprising to learn that flushing toilets alone account for around 30% of water usage in the average household, resulting in a significant waste of treated water. Using rainwater for tasks like flushing toilets can save treated water and promote an eco-friendly water management system.

Benefit 2: Good for Your Plants

Source: Istock

Keeping your plants healthy during the hot summer can be difficult, but thankfully, rain can assist us with this. Rainwater is naturally soft and free of salts, minerals, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals found in tap water.

Additionally, rainwater’s pH level is slightly acidic, within the preferred range (pH 5.5 to 6.5) for most plants. In contrast, tap water is usually alkaline, with a pH above 8.5. The natural acidity of rainwater creates the perfect environment for plant growth and nutrient absorption, resulting in healthy and vibrant leaves. Therefore, using rainwater to nourish your plants during the summer will give them the ideal conditions for thriving.

 

Benefit 3: Good for the Environment and Your Neighbourhood

In the spring and summer, there tends to be more rain, leading to increased stormwater runoff. This is when precipitation, such as rain or snowmelt, flows over the ground and eventually reaches rivers, oceans, or soil.

Source: Istock


In natural settings, rain is absorbed by trees, plants, and the ground, promoting stable stream flows and maintaining high water quality. However, in our modern urban areas with tightly packed buildings and poor stormwater management, issues arise. High volumes of stormwater rapidly flow into streams, causing water levels to rise quickly and leading to flooding. Additionally, stormwater carries pollutants such as oil, fertilisers, pesticides, sediment, garbage, and animal waste as it flows over roofs, driveways, roads, and lawns. These pollutants enter local streams and water bodies without treatment, contaminating our water and harming aquatic ecosystems.

By implementing rainwater harvesting systems, we can reduce the harmful effects of stormwater runoff. Not only does this ease pressure on municipal water supplies, but it also promotes a healthier environment and safeguards water quality in our communities.

 

How to Harvest Rainwater?

Source: Istock

1. Assess your Water Needs

Decide how you want to utilise the rainwater that you have collected. You can use it for tasks like watering your garden, washing your car, or any other outdoor activities that need water.

2. Approximate Rainwater Harvesting Potential

To determine the amount of rain you can collect, research the average rainfall patterns in your area. Consider the size of your collection surfaces, such as your roof.

3. Start Small with Rain Barrels or Cisterns

If you like being more involved or want to start with a smaller system, consider using rain barrels, cisterns, or underground tanks in your garden or apartment balcony. These containers will enable you to collect and store rain for immediate use in watering plants or other outdoor activities. Install filters and screens to prevent debris or contaminants from entering the storage containers to ensure the water remains clean.

4. Explore Professional Services:

If you want to invest in a rainwater harvesting system without hassles, try contacting local experts. They can help you install a custom system that meets your unique requirements even if you live in apartments. They can redirect the collected water to your irrigation system to maximise efficiency.

5. Foster Community Engagement:

If you reside in an apartment building or community, it’s a great idea to collaborate with your neighbours and share rain barrels in communal areas. This promotes sustainable practices and encourages community engagement towards a shared objective.

Source: Depositphotos


Ideas for Using Rainwater during Summer

To make the most out of your collected rainwater, here are some suggestions for you to use.

1. Watering your Plants, Flowers, and Garden Beds: Use rain to nourish your garden.

2. Outdoor Cleaning: Using rainwater is ideal for cleaning outdoor furniture, patio surfaces, and gardening tools. Opt for eco-friendly cleaning products compatible with rainwater to ensure an environmentally friendly cleaning routine.

3. Window Cleaning: Using rainwater would be a great option to clean your windows without leaving any streaks or mineral deposits. Simply mix it with a cleaning solution to achieve sparkling results.

4. Washing Vehicles and Outdoor Equipment: Instead of using treated water, use rain to wash your car, bike, or other outdoor equipment.

5. Swimming Pool Filling: If you have a swimming pool, consider using rain to top it up. While having a filtration system for a complete refill is better, using rainwater can still help reduce the amount of treated water needed to maintain your pool’s water level.

6. Flushing Toilets: Using rainwater to flush toilets is a practical way to conserve water. It reduces the use of treated water and is especially helpful since flushing accounts for a significant portion of household water consumption.

7. Composting: Moisten your compost pile with rain to speed up decomposition. Rain has natural properties that make it the perfect choice for maintaining the proper moisture level in your compost bin.

8. Fire Protection: Although we hope you never have to use it, having a readily available water source, such as rainwater, can offer additional safety in fire emergencies.

9. Drinking and bathing (with Proper Treatment): With appropriate filtration and treatment, rainwater can be used for drinking and bathing. Invest in a high-quality filtration system that removes impurities and ensures the water’s safety before using it for these purposes.

 

In Summary

It is essential to prioritise safety and hygiene when using rainwater for any purpose. To prevent the buildup of debris or contaminants, clean your rainwater storage containers, filters, and screens regularly. Following these precautions, you can safely use rainwater for your desired purposes and enjoy its benefits.

As we head into summer, let’s consider rainwater harvesting as a way to make a positive impact. Every drop matters, so whether you begin with a small rain barrel for your garden or opt for a more extensive harvesting system, taking that first step is essential. By doing so, we can work towards a more sustainable and water-efficient world, one drop at a time.

 

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  Hi, I am Aleesya Karim. I'm a flower and cat fanatic from a tropical country, Malaysia. If I was a tree, I’d be a coconut tree. Their incredible usefulness, even after they’ve passed, is genuinely cool. So, I hope my articles can be my fruit or leaf offerings for your green journey 😉

 

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Article also published in our founder's blog: My Shade of Green