Collecting rainwater offers many benefits for residents and businesses – for potable (drinking, showering) and non-potable applications (toilet flushing, irrigation, wash down) – and more. Water tanks can be made of plastic or steel and can be set above or below ground, depending on the amount of space available. Here are 7 reasons to collect rainwater:
Significant, economic, social, and environmental benefits can be achieved by collecting, storing, and using rainwater. According to the Texas A&M AgriLlife Extension and the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association (ARCSA), rainwater harvesting benefits individuals and communities in many ways.
- CONSERVES WATER: Rainwater harvesting provides an alternative water source to well water and public water supplies. About 50 to 70 % of all household water is used for landscape irrigation and other outdoor activities.
- CONSERVES ENERGY: Because rainwater harvesting bypasses the centralized water system, it conserves energy. Many household systems require only a small pump to create water pressure in the pipes, and many non potable systems operate by gravity.
- PREVENTS FLOODING AND EROSION: Part of the local rainfall is diverted into collection tanks or passive harvesting methods, leaving less storm water to manage. Stormwater problems are turned into water supply assets by slowing runoff and allowing it to soak into the ground.
- DECREASES WATER CONTAMINATION: Captured rainwater does not cause immediate runoff. Limiting runoff helps decrease the contamination of surface water by sediments, fertilizers, and pesticides in rainfall runoff.
- REDUCES PERSONAL WATER BILLS: Rainwater can be used in landscaping, for toilets, and for washing laundry. With more filtration and treatment, it can be used for cooking and drinking as well.
- SUPPLIES NUTRIENTS TO PLANTS: Rainwater often contains nitrogen which provides a slight fertilizing effect for plants.
- PROVIDES NATURALLY SOFT WATER: The use of rainwater can significantly reduce the amounts of detergents and soaps needed. It also prevents soap scum, hardness deposits, and the need for water softeners.
A properly installed rainwater harvesting system, by a credentialed company, reaps rewards over city, well or surface water for many years with reliable, safe and quality water.
This throwback Thursday post was originally published under the title Benefits of Rainwater Collection at RainBank.info.
Seattle residents enjoy the advantage of being able to collect rainwater for both non potable and potable use.
A single family residence can supplement city water for whole house use with rainwater. Rainwater collection has many benefits to the home owner – whether intended for irrigation or household use. Toilet flushing, laundry facility, and wash down are non potable uses that can save water consumption and money on monthly bills.
Systems can be easily installed for new construction or retro-fitted for existing homes. According to the American Water Works Association (AWWA) non potable usage accounts for approximately 52% of residential usage. We know that collected rainwater helps supply nutrients to soil and provides naturally soft water for bathing and washing. With proper filtration and disinfection, the collected rainwater can be used for potable demands (sinks, showers, and drinking water), which account for the other 48% demand.
An average 2,000 square foot roof in Seattle will see over 44,000 gallons of roof runoff annually.
This runoff either enters the city’s stormwater system or enters its combined sewer system. The latter can result in intentional release into the Puget Sound when system are overwhelmed. The City of Seattle is mandated by the Federal Government to meet these challenges by requiring onsite infiltration of all new construction.
Seattle Public Utilities, along with King county, have the daunting task of mapping, upgrading and replacing an outdated public stormwater system. This federally required mandate will be lengthy and expensive.
RainBank Rainwater Systems designs and constructs systems for our clients’ specific needs. We calculate amounts available, usage, storage and automate systems to switch from city water to rainwater, depending on the seasons’ rainfall amounts and the desired usage. This technique optimizes roof runoff to demand, reducing stormwater while lowering city water usage. The water quality is superior, it is good for our Puget Sound and waterways, and it will reduce monthly water bills. We live in an area that is ideal for rainwater collection are you taking advantage of that.
Matt Grocoff, a writer, speaker and recognized leader in net zero energy and living buildings asks: “What if there is a better way for Flint and other cities to harvest and deliver life-enhancing water?
We’ve talked about why decentralized water systems are important to our public safety and why rainwater collection is a simple source for decentralized water, and how it can be the answer to our aging, centralized water systems. With expected increased demand from high density development and the high cost of upgrading infrastructure to meet those demands, water is becoming a commodity.
In his February 15th post for Michigan Radio, Can Flint crisis inspire better water systems for all of us?, Grocoff goes on to say, “There is no doubt that Flint’s water crisis is an unqualified failure of democracy, but it is also a century-old failure of design and systems thinking.”
With a progressive train of thought, he asks, instead of replacing all of the pipes, how about building a better system? This practical approach has some of us scratching our heads because it makes perfect sense.
As science and technology evolve, we should adapt new practices for designing and building public water systems – for the sake of our health, longevity, sustainability and affordability.