Rainwater Collection and Quality of Life

Sierra Leone Africa School_RainBankLLCThe United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) mission is to “provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.”

UNEP was created in 1972 by the United Nations General Assembly for a wide range of environmental concerns and strategies, including Rainwater Harvesting and Utilization. A recent newsletter,  “An Environmentally Sound Approach for Sustainable Urban Water Management: An Introductory Guide for decision makers, cites nations around the world that are currently practicing rainwater collection as a source of water.

Examples are Singapore – with limited land resources and rising demands for water – has done a recent study of urban residential with conclusion of 4% savings from $1.17 per cubic meter to $.96 per cubic meter.  A non potable application at the Changi Airport accounts for a 28 – 30% savings.

Tokyo, Japan rainwater harvesting and utilization is promoted to mitigate water shortages, control floods, and secure water for emergencies.

About 750 private and public buildings in Tokyo have introduced rainwater collection and it is now flourishing in private and public sector.

Berlin, Germany rainwater utilization was introduced in 1998 as part of large scale urban development to control flooding and save city water. Germany is a leader in rainwater collection technology. Many products used in the United States come from Germany.

China has seventeen provinces that have adopted rainwater collection on a large scale with 5.6 million tanks supplying drinking water for 15 million people.

Of course, Africa is experiencing expansion of rainwater collection systems throughout the continent with the help of many NGOs in Kenya, Sierra Leone, Mozambique and many others.

Other countries  such as Australia, Philippines, Indonesia, Canada, and more are recognizing sustainable solutions to the worldwide need for a clean reliable source of water.

Rainwater Collection is Catching On

SeaScoutBase_Galveston_RainBank_projectBoth commercial and residential rainwater collection customers are expressing more interest than ever before, which is a large part of the reason that RainBank Rainwater Systems has seen a 50% bump in growth over the last year.

Architectural  and engineering firms are including rainwater collection systems in their designs. Cities, and counties throughout the state are beginning to understand the connection between stormwater management and rainwater collection.

Developers are saving money on large water bills with rainwater collection, while complying with he “Green Storm water Infrastructure” (GSI). Green building and low impact development are becoming more popular with the general public.  Residential customers, new construction and retrofits are recognizing the long-term cost savings, water quality, and security of a more decentralized water system. As a whole, the public is becoming more environmentally aware of our environmental impact and are finding ways to make that impact positive.

County and City planners, building departments, and health departments need to have the tools to make proper choices of acceptance, promotion, code and permitting of rainwater collection systems. RainBank’s president, Ken Blair is the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association’s (ARCSA) Northwest regional representative and can schedule an ARCSA workshop for those civil departments, engineering and architectural firms this summer in Seattle. Interested parties please contact Ken using the contact form, or directly at Ken at RainBank dot info.

Water and Sustainable Development

UN World Water Day logoOn World Water Day 2015, ARCSA, as well as dozens of other organizations, stepped up to encourage the use of rainwater collection as a vital tool in efforts to deal with local and global water-related issues existing today. According to ARCSA, “Rainwater provides numerous benefits: 

  • Rainwater is a valuable resource that is underutilized.  Its harvest and use can alleviate challenges related to water resources, potable, non-potable, and stormwater, and energy for pumping water. 
  • Local rainwater harvesting solutions enhance water security and provide important relief to households and communities. All around the world, rainwater infiltration, and collection, storage and use offer benefits for the environment, wildlife and humans, e.g. improved water quality and availability for urban areas, industry and agriculture. 
  • It is time for rainwater catchment to be included in the development plans of all governmental agencies as part of their integrated watershed management strategies. 
  • Introduction of the concept of rainwater management – maximizing rain’s benefits as a vital resource while minimizing potential rain hazards – to curricula of technical schools and universities will bring future benefits to urban planning, architectural and agricultural projects.”

The United Nations has designated March 22 as World Water Day, celebrated annually, and this year the focus topic was Sustainable Development and how water links to all areas – health, nature, urbanization, industry, energy, development and food.  See more below:

In conjunction with World Water Day, the UN releases its comprehensive annual report – the World Water Development Report, which addresses world water issues and promotes sustainability.

Click here to download the full report, which offers several anecdotes and case studies of how rainwater harvesting is being used worldwide to mitigate the effects of over population, aging infrastructure, drought and stretched resources.