After driving home this week in the worst rain I have seen for a long time I thought it would be apt to write my blog on rain water harvesting.
Rainwater harvesting is the collection and storage of rainwater that would otherwise flow down the drain. Rainwater is collected from the roof, and then stored so it can be re-used in your garden and even in your home to provide flush water for the toilet and for your washing machine.
Did you know that according to the environment agency each person in the UK uses approximately 150 litres of drinking water every day from our taps. Only half of this amount needs to be drinking water for things like our food preparation and drinks. The rest of the water we use is for things like washing, cleaning, toilet flushing and watering our gardens. This means that half the water we use has gone through an energy and carbon intensive process of filtration, chemical treatment, and pumping from miles away, just to flush down a toilet or water the lawn.
By harvesting our rainwater it means that we can potentially
▪ Reduce our water bills by around 50%.
▪ Increase chances of you gaining planning permission. Planning departments look favourably on sustainable developments.
▪ Provide your garden with water all year round.
▪ Help to reduce flood risk.
Due to the increase in housing developments it means that more and more of our green spaces are being covered with materials that are not as permeable as the surfaces they replaced and act as water catchers rather than helping to drain it away into the water table so its not surprising that we are seeing more instances of flooding across the UK.
So, how do you harvest rainwater?
The easiest system is a simple container, which is fed from your gutter so that rainwater travels directly from your roof, down your gutter and into a tank. The tank can be a simple barrel which sits directly under your gutter in the garden, which just simply holds your water or it can be part of a complex system, which will filter, store and pump your water for use in your house for things like flushing the loo or washing your clothes.
Its something that I know I haven’t really thought about or looked into because we just take for granted the water we get from the tap but I think it is important to begin to consider other possibilities of where our water comes from and what we use it for. After all if we all just did a tiny bit to become more sustainable, our world would be a stronger and healthier place to be.