What exactly is rainwater harvesting?
If someone told you that you could have free, high quality water delivered right to your house, would you take it? When it rains, we are basically getting exactly that, fresh, clean water right at our door. Instead of thinking of rain as something to divert away from our roof and into the stormdrain, Rain Harvest enthusiast see rain as a resource.
A rainwater harvesting system collects water from a roof or impermeable surface and directs it to a storage tank. Designs range from a simple rain barrel at the bottom of a downspout for watering a few plants, to extensive cistern systems that can provide a substantial amount of the water someone uses.
For every 1” of water that lands on a 1,000 square foot roof, you can capture 620 gallons!
Why use Rainwater?
Rainwater harvesting is beneficial because it reduces demand on existing water supply, and reduces run-off, erosion, and contamination of surface water. It is especially useful if you do not have a reliable source of water, or if your well water is high in undesirable minerals.
Rainwater can be used for nearly any purpose that requires water. These include landscape use, stormwater control, wildlife and livestock watering, in-home use, and fire protection.
Rainwater harvesting offers a small-scale best management practice to reduce stormwater runoff and the problems associated with it. By harvesting the rainfall and storing it, you can slowly release the water back into the soil, either through irrigation or direct application. The water then moves into groundwater table, providing a steady supply of water to local streams and rivers. This can help reduce erosion problems, while saving some water.
Rainwater is also good for plants because it is free of salts and other minerals that harm root growth. When using rainwater for landscape irrigation, it is critical to be as efficient as possible. This includes applying only the amount of water that the plants need and using drip irrigation.Rainwater harvesting_OR smart guide.pdfRainbarrel_guide_May2012.Ashland.pdf