One of the four elements, water is the essential life giver–nothing can live without it for long. Harvesting this resource is as simple as collecting what nature provides, such as rain water in particular. The trick is in squeezing all the potential benefits out of every gallon saved.
In regions where running water (such as rivers and streams, or underground sources) is scarce, or water pumped from the city is unavailable, using rainwater effectively is a matter of efficiency. There are many ideals when it comes to water conservation, and there are just as many applications. In this case, we are examining the benefits of employing rain water for grey water usage, such as plumbing and irrigation. Regardless as to whether you will be depending on rain run-off as a sole source of water, or you would like to supplement existing sources, harvesting rain water is environmentally and financially beneficial.
Helping the Environment
Water from the sky is a more or less free source of water; collecting it is fairly simple and green–it creates no damaging imprint on the environment like the carbon emissions resulting when a water treatment facility pumps water. Little energy is used, and none is wasted. Collecting rain water can also lessen the impact of storm runoff that often overloads a city’s sewer system. These are just examples, the benefits of efficient water usage are endless.
Rain water–essentially free–can offset the cost of existing supplies, such as city water. It can be collected, stored, and integrated into your home’s existing plumbing, not to mention used for irrigation of trees, plants, gardens, and lawns. Even during droughts, enough rain water can be collected for long range use. In most applications, this gives you, the homeowner, options.
- Collecting Method BasicsAbove ground: “Above” and “below ground” has less to do with catchments (in most cases, the roof of your home) and more to do with conveyance and storage. Any water friendly material can be used for storage: wood, metal, concrete, masonry, etc. A typical above ground storage is basically a cistern for collecting the rain water from the roof through the rain gutters.
- Below ground: In-ground systems are buried–this includes the storage tank and part of the conveyance system (rain gutters) being hidden in the ground. The pros and cons of either system will depend on finances, personal choice, and temperate zones.
Store your water the old way!
Man has been collecting and using rainwater since ancient times, for plumbing, irrigation, and potable water. Cisterns were usually made of stone or brick. Today there are several companies that supply man-made cisterns. These are generally tanks molded from fiberglass or various plastics, and are not that attractive. While you can conceivably hide them underground, or with masonry, collection capacity is also limited. However, there is a reemerging popularity in the art form of using stone and masonry for storing rainwater. One of the benefits is in being able to make large capacity cisterns. But the real beauty is in the aesthetic appeal of the stone itself.
The very same blocks used in building attractive retaining walls can be used to build a rainwater cistern. Stone cisterns are not only more attractive, but they keep water cooler and fresher. Stone is also less likely to leach any unwanted chemicals into a water supply; it is the best choice for storing usable rainwater. Grand River Natural Stone is a trusted landscaping supplier of Ontario. Let us help you choose the material for your water harvesting project. We can meet any supply needs, and we deliver.