Rainwater – A Hidden Treasure – Why We Should be Collecting Rainwater and How
When it comes to the weather, the truth is that you’re more likely to find a British person complaining about the rain rather than celebrating it. But why are we so negative about something that’s actually a hidden treasure when it comes to saving both money and the environment?
We believe we’re lucky to live in such a drizzly climate so we’re here to turn your rainy day frown upside by showing you just how you can make the most of this free and abundant resource.
Why should we be collecting rainwater?
Did you know that just flushing your toilet makes up around 27% of your entire water usage per year? Or that, during a drought, gardeners watering their gardens can use up around 70% of the entire mains water output?
Using conserved rainwater to carry out these tasks and others around the home can help to reduce your water consumption by up to 50%. Not only is this excellent news for your bank balance, it’s also even better news for the environment and can go a long way towards guarding against drought. That’s what we call a win-win situation.
5 Ways To use Rainwater Around The Home
Gardening – Using rainwater instead of mains water to keep your plants hydrated is simple because you don’t have to filter the water before you use it. You can simply buy a water storage butt with a tap for hose connections or simply leave watering cans out where they can fill up with rain by themselves. Unless, that is, you’re watering edibles – in which case it’s better to be safe than sorry and opt for a filtered system.
Flushing the toilet – Remember what we said about toilets taking up a huge chunk of your everyday water usage? Using rainwater to flush your loo instead can save a lot of water. You can install pipes and a pump to direct rainwater from your storage butt and into your toilet’s plumbing but keeping a bucket of rainwater by the loo works just as well and is far more simple. Just remember to match up the volume of your bucket to your toilet’s tank so you get the flush just right.
Washing the car – Much like gardening, you don’t need pure filtered water to wash your car either. As long as you keep your water butt clean and free of stagnation, rainwater is perfectly fine for freshening up the motor.
Washing and laundry – Here’s where things get a bit more complicated because, if you’re going to be using rainwater to wash yourself or your clothes, you’re going to need it to be clean and free of any harmful pathogens so a good filtration system is a must.
Consumption – When it comes to consuming rainwater either for drinking or cooking, the above is even more vital. If you’re going to be using rainwater for consumption, you’ll need a purpose-built collection and filtration system.
Collecting Rainwater: Our Top Tips
The methods you use for rainwater harvesting can be as simple or as complex as you like; any house with guttering and a drain pipe can install a basic rainwater collection system but the trick is to work out how much water you’re going to use and what you’re going to use it for.
Do keep it simple – If you just want some spare water to keep the garden going or to wash the car, your rainwater collection system can be as simple as a water butt attached to the drainpipe that collects water runoff from your roof.
Do your homework on filtration – As we mentioned before, filtration is an absolute must if you’re going to use rainwater for washing or consumption as it can easily become contaminated by pollutants, algae, or other nasties collected as the rain runs off your roof. A galvanised steel tank with food-grade lining is a good bet as it will help prevent any nasty pathogens growing or any toxins leaking into your water supply.
Do the maths – When it comes to working out what size water butt you need, you simply need to look at rainfall in your area versus how much you’re likely to use. Ideally, you don’t want your water sitting in storage for too long as this leads to a higher chance of contamination.
Do be aware of regulations – Most rainwater collection systems are pretty simple but, if you want something more complicated that connects to your mains, you must be aware of any health and safety regulations you’re required to comply with. For example, any pipes carrying harvested rainwater must be marked as such, while your system will need effective backflow prevention to make sure no contaminated water makes it way back into the mains supply.
Have we got you feeling a bit better about that upcoming rainy forecast? I Hope so!