Rainwater harvesting is one of the simplest – and oldest – methods of accumulating rainwater for reuse; both domestically and commercially.
Once collected, the water is redirected to a storage facility (a well, shaft, or borehole). It can be used for garden watering, livestock, irrigation, domestic use such as toilet flushing, clothes washing, indoor heating, etc. Harvested water can even be used as drinking water with proper treatment.
Domestic rainwater harvesting systems can save up to 50% of water consumption within the average home. Water can be used for toilet flushing, washing clothes, garden watering and car washing.
In this article, The Guardian newspaper explore rainwater harvesting systems and look at Rainwater harvesting versus greywater recycling:
‘Rainwater harvesting systems (RHS) – as you might expect from the name – harvest the rainwater that has fallen freely from the sky, typically onto the roof of your home. In contrast to the humble water butt, which typically captures about 200 litres of rainwater, a rainwater harvesting tank can easily filter and store up to 6,500 litres of clean water.
What’s more, while these systems have traditionally been used to water the garden, new technology means an RHS can now be plumbed into your home’s existing pipework and the rainwater used to flush toilets and wash clothes. This means that you could reduce your water consumption by as much as 40%, according to the Rainwater Harvesting Association, which – if you switch to a water meter – will lower your water bills as well.
Rainwater harvesting v greywater recycling
The amount of water you save with one of these systems is lower than the 50% savings that you can potentially get with a greywater recycling system because rainwater supply is less certain. “You will need to be able to rely on your mains water system as a backup during periods where there is little rainfall”, says Derek Hunt, from Rainharvesting Systems.
However, unlike a greywater recycling system, RHS requires little specialist maintenance and the rainwater you harvest – as it has never been used to wash food or the human body – is likely to contain far less bacteria and contaminants than greywater. This can make RHS a cheaper and more environmentally-friendly choice for many homeowners, say the proponents of these schemes.’
Read more at: www.theguardian.com