Rapid depletion of potable sources around the planet is a harsh reminder for us all to utilise our water wisely and with care. Harvesting rainwater is one of the great ways to contribute to the local sustainability ratings. We have decided to focus on some simple and cost-effective set-ups. Here are some tips on how to construct them in your own backyard.
If you’re in two minds about this water-conserving method, we have compiled a straightforward list of benefits the rainwater collection system brings:
- When filtered, harvested water can be used for human nutrition and bathing
- The quality of such water is often superior to the quality of tap water alternative
- Collected liquid can be utilised for irrigation and livestock needs
- The process reduces dependence on the underground water sources
- Water is captured before getting in contact with various land contaminants, which is not the case with underground wells city lines use
- Collected water is a great backup stock for extreme drought periods
- Harvested water is practically free, once you install the apparatus
- The procedure is chemical-free and energy-savvy
- Collection of rainwater minimises the chances of flooding and erosion
Food-grade barrels are the most common and easy-to-install rainwater harvesting devices that can collect thousands of gallons throughout the year. This is particularly useful for the summer months, when the garden irrigation takes up around 40% of water consumption of the entire household.
If you’re an avid craftsman, you can make a rain barrel yourself with a hose bib spigot, protective net, super glue, overflow valve and other related paraphernalia. You can also find ready-made rain containers that are already fitted with the necessary extensions. Their capacity ranges from 200-500 litres, and you can choose between old-school wooden barrels and safe UV-coated recycled plastic variants.
In case you need a more powerful storage option that can accommodate vast array of liquids (water, fertilisers, etc.), it’s advised to go for capacious cartage tanks as a secure long-term solution for your garden. Their opaque surface inhibits the growth of microorganisms and algae, while their sturdy structure is weather and impact resistant. What’s more, you can easily connect the tank with one of those 12-volt sprayers with nozzles in case you need to quickly disperse the liquid.
When you’re unsure what tank capacity would match your daily needs, you should use your utility bill to analyse regular water consumption per house-occupant. This includes showering, toilet flushing, clothes and dish washing (for filtered water), as well as garden and lawn watering.
In addition, you should know what level of precipitation you can expect in your area. Make use of the handy online rainfall calculators, but also check with the local meteorological station for more detailed information. The average water use per person is between 55 and 75 gallons a day (with water-saving add-ons), which makes areas with an annual rainfall below 24” unfortunate candidates for this system.
Rain barrels can stand on their own, but they’re more often connected to the house’s downspout system. The gutter system can be made out of the galvanized steel, roll-formed aluminium or simple PVC (vinyl). Make sure the pipes are wide enough to withstand the expected flow and no lead-based solders are used for the connections.
Water filtration of rainfall is a multi-step procedure if you want to get 100% pure, quality water. First of all, it’s advisable to install a roof-washing pre-filtration system to ensure no chunky pieces or contaminants end in your water.
The nets and protective covers should be placed on the barrel itself. Lastly, the combination of Reverse Osmosis and Ultra Violet filters will oust all organic (bacteria and viruses) and non-organic pollutants (impurities) that escape the preliminary filtration.
The privilege of having free, clean water comes with related duties. Considering you’re a sole system manager in this case, you’re responsible for its upkeep, sanitation and repairs. Commit to regular maintenance tasks, like downspout flushing, roof drainage and sealing of tiny cracks on the barrel. Finally, test the water occasionally to ensure it’s entirely safe.
By constructing or purchasing a simple rainwater harvesting system, you’ll get a chance to minimise your utility bill and have a green, dependable source of water. We’ve presented you with some essential tips to help you in the process.