A Beginner Guide to Rainwater Collection
Water is one of our most precious resources, therefore, we should do all that we can when it comes to water conservation, every living thing needs water to survive, from humans, plants, and animals even down to the tiniest microscopic organism. I once heard a statement that someone made many years ago” Water is the liquid of life.” This liquid of life supports all life forms on our planet.
An effective method for water conservation is the collection of water, this safe approach to water management is not new but has been practiced for some time. The rainwater that is collected has many benefits and can be used in so many ways, there are lots of ways that rainwater can be collected from a barrel to more complex systems that can be purchased and installed.
We will be discussing how this is done and the many ways rainwater can be used and be of great benefit to you, this beginner’s guide will answer all of your concerns so you can take advantage of rainwater collection.
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How to Collect Rainwater
There are several ways to collect rainwater, and after reading you can decide which method is best for you.
Collecting Rainwater in a Barrel
This oldest, simplest, and easiest method to collect rainwater is in a barrel, the barrel that’s used can be recycled followed by cleaning, or a new barrel can be purchased. Collecting rainwater in a barrel is the most common. This method is simply done by locating or installing a barrel at a gutter downspout which will collect the rainwater.
The Pros of Using Barrels
- Can be easily installed with little effort
- These barrels don’t take up much space which makes installation easy
The Cons of Using Barrels
- Barrel will eventually get filled if it’s raining constantly and overflow onto the ground
- The water-holding capacity of rain barrels is limited, there is only so much water they can hold
Collecting Rainwater In a “Dry” Water System
This method of using a dry water system involves the variation of a rainwater barrel setup that involves a larger storage volume, essentially the collection pipe “drys” after rain emptying directly into the top of the tank.
The Pros of “Dry” Water Systems
- Is not complicated making these systems easy to install
- Can be inexpensive to install
- Is ideal for places where rainfall happens with infrequent, larger storm events
- Can collect and store large amounts of water
The Cons of “Dry” Water Systems
- The storage tank must be installed or located next to your home
Collecting Rainwater in a “Wet” System
The use of a wet system involves placing the collection pipes underground so that multiple downspouts can be connected from different gutters. Once it starts to rain the water will fill the pipes that are underground causing the water to raise in vertical pipes until it overflows into the tank. Ensure that the underground collection pipe and the downspout have connections that are tight to avoid water loss or leakage. The elevation of the tank inlet must be below the lowest gutter on the house.
The Pros of a “Wet” System
- You have the option of locating the tank away from your home
- The advantage of collecting water from multiple gutters and downspouts
- Gives you the advantage to collect water from the entire collection surface
The Cons of a “Wet” System
- Sufficient difference between gutters and tank inlet must be available
- More costly to install because of underground piping
Where to Use Rainwater Indoors
- Washing machine
- Utility sink
Where to Use Rainwater Outdoors
- Watering livestock
- Water your landscapes and gardens using rainwater with a garden hose
- Connect your rainwater system to your irrigation system
- Wash your pets with it
- Use as emergency water
- Swimming pools
- Refill your fish pond with rainwater
- Water fountains
- Can be used to suppress a fire
- Wash your vehicle with it
- Use rainwater to refill your swimming pool
The Benefits of Using Rainwater
- Rainwater can be used as a backup source in case of an emergency
- It reduces stormwater runoff from business establishments
- It promotes self-sufficiency and helps to conserve water
- It reduces stormwater runoff from homes
- Can help to reduce your water bill
- Rainwater does not contain any chemicals
- Rainwater contains natural minerals and nutrient trace elements that are beneficial to garden plants
- Rainwater collection on your property can solve your drainage problem while providing you with free water
- Collecting rainwater is simple and will not cause you much and will save you money at the same time
- Rainwater has a Neutral pH it’s soft and not hard it’s great for cleaning, personal hygiene, and laundry. It’s less corrosive than hard water and can extend the life of appliances
Checking your Local Law
Some states have specific laws and regulations about the collection of rainwater, to find out about the collection of rainwater by your state and if it’s prohibited or excepted check your state office or contact your local cooperative extension office for more information.
The final word on how to harvest rainwater for beginners
Collecting rainwater is not new but a method that has been used for a long time because of the many benefits that it offers, now that we have discussed how to harvest rainwater for beginners what are your thoughts? I believe the collection of rainwater should be used by all homeowners or even if you are living in an apartment the harvesting of rainwater can be made possible. Whether you’re using a small system or a more complex system for larger projects you can have much success as you enjoy these many benefits while saving your hard-earned dollar.
About the author
Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.