Tag Archives: energy conservation

Environmental Benefits to Rainwater Harvesting

woman in rain-756647_640Whether it is a small rain barrel garden system or the largest commercial irrigation system, there are many environmental benefits to rainwater harvesting.

Here in the Pacific Northwest we have a climate that sustains and nurtures our forests, lakes, rivers, and lifestyles. Often we grumble a little about the long dreary rainy days of autumn and winter, dreaming of summer months of enjoyment and recreation that our beautiful state offers. It is the rain that feeds our mountains with snow, keeps our rivers and lakes full, our forests green, our air clean, and our water supplies replenished. We are fortunate to live where the climatic conditions offer a seemingly never ending supply. and never give it much thought. Water from oceans, lakes, rivers turn into water vapor during evaporation, then condensate into droplets that form clouds. As the clouds become heavy they lose their water through rain or snow and the cycle starts over again. Protecting the cycle of water with sustainable, environmental practices and conservation will help ensure our water supplies for future generations. 

What if we interrupted that cycle for a moment? Borrow that water briefly? Then, return it to the natural cycle without a lot of energy. Rainwater harvesting does just that by on site collection, storage and use returning it through infiltration.  Rainwater harvesting:

CONSERVES WATER : 50 – 70 % household use is used for landscaping. It does not need to be treated to drinking water standards.

CONSERVES ENERGY: Rainwater collection bypasses a centralized system, conserving energy.

PREVENTS FLOODING & EROSION: Less stormwater to manage by diverting it to storage, then usage.

DECREASES WATER CONTAMINATION: Limiting runoff which pick up contaminants as surface water.

REPLENISHES AQUIFERS:  Washington State Ecology determined that in stream flow rates and Aquifers benefitted from rainwater collection and infiltration.

Other benefits include lower monthly water bills, provides naturally soft water, use of less detergents and soaps. If properly filtered and disinfected, rainwater can be used for whole house demands including drinking water, free of chlorine and other additives used in municipal water supplies. Rainwater collection can be a practical answer to storm water and drainage codes, allowing for mitigation of the roof area as an impervious surface. 

So when it rains here in Seattle, look at it as a gift – a gift that we can pay forward by common sense stewardship of this life sustaining resource.  

7 Reasons to Collect Rainwater

RBRWC924153Collecting 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. SUPPLIES NUTRIENTS TO PLANTS: Rainwater often contains nitrogen which provides a slight fertilizing effect for plants.
  7. 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.