Rainwater Collecting Systems

playful young woman holding umbrella in the rain

Rain!

It’s a wonderful thing…energetic…inspiring. It’s life-giving.

cut top
My first Rain Barrel

I’ve been developing rainwater collecting systems since 2007, when I purchased a used wine barrel for $25, painted the bands green, stained the oak, cut a hole in the top and stuck it under a downspout. Oh my, the lessons we learn by doing it yourself. I don’t recommend filling up any kind barrel, trash can, or bucket with rainwater, unless you intend to use it right away. Mine looked great, but because it was open to all to see, AND smell, the water attracted rodents and mosquitos, and after a time siting in the sun, creates algae…and then comes the odor! I had no particular agenda when I did this little project, except to find out for myself if it can be done on a dime…well, it can’t. If you want to do it right, anyway, and that’s what I’ve learned in over 8 years of trying.

Ask yourself!

gutter install up high
Do you have gutters and downspouts?

There are many questions (click here for your RWH Checklist) I would like you to ask yourself before investing any more time, and further researching the possibilities of harvesting rainwater. This little task will do two things for both, you and me, if you decide to contact my team to help develop your rainwater harvesting project. First, it will help to educate you on what is required for a system, and second, help you decide the feasibility.

What turns most people off to having there own rainwater harvesting system is the cost, and when compared to what they currently pay for municipal water, it may not seem worth it. For the most part, water is pretty cheap, and until it starts costing you and me over $1 gallon to flush our toilets, we’re going to put off catching rain.

Do it for the right reasons.

You’re not going to save a lot of money, but there are plenty of good reasons for harvesting rainwater. Taken from the American Rainwater Catchment System Association (ARCSA), here are some of the advantages of using rainwater.

  • Conserves water: Rainwater harvesting provides an alternative water source to well water and public water supplies. About 50 to 70 percent of all household water is used for landscape irrigation and other outdoor activities, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Rainwater can be used in small residential landscapes or in large-scale landscapes such as parks, schoolyards, commercial sites, parking lots, and apartment complexes.
  • 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 nonpotable systems operate by gravity.
  • Prevents flooding and erosion: Part of the local rainfall is diverted into collection tanks or passive harvesting methods, leaving less stormwater 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 that 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. When rainwater is used, water heaters and pipes used for rainwater are free of the deposits caused by hard water and should last longer, thus saving money.

 

COMPONENTS

Catchment Surface

Conveyance – Dry vs. Wet

Selecting a Storage Container (click here)

Piping, Fittings and PVC