Droughts are becoming more prominent around the globe, creating a real water crisis. Meanwhile, developed countries are clinging to old practices and still being responsible for the largest water footprint. That means we are running through clean water deposits faster than we can even hope to replenish them. So, it is high time to turn the tide and preserve limited natural resources. In the process, we have a chance to trim utility bills and save a ton of money in the long run. The solution comes in the form of rainwater harvesting, a system you can install in your backyard.
1Water under the bridge
Maintaining a lush and green garden does not have to go hard on your budget or the environment. We have a variety of green solutions at our disposal. Rainwater harvesting, as the name suggests, utilizes natural water, which is an exceptional resource for a variety of activities in and around the household. It is usually fairly clean and best of all, it comes for free. What is more, you can substantially improve your self-sufficiency and have access to water in the case of emergency.
It makes so much sense to collect rainwater instead of letting it go to waste or, to be more precise, the sewer system. Basically, you need to convert existing gutters so that they serve as a part of the rainwater collection system. With an average setup, it is possible to gather around 60 gallons of water. This considerably reduces your main water usage and bills. Namely, it is estimated that using natural rainwater saves between 30 and 50% on utility bills.
You should really make an effort to look beyond the upfront investment and focus on the long-term benefits. Speaking of which, note that the rainwater sourced via harvesting is actually better for your lawn and garden than the treated water you have in your home. It has a rich nutrient content and does not contain harmful chemicals like chlorine. This is also to say you are able to reduce fertilizer use. On top of it all, rainwater collection prevents the heavy downpours from wreaking havoc on your yard.
The only thing to remember is that rainwater is not potable, which means it must be treated before using it in the household, for cooking and drinking. You can choose to water your lawn or garden right away with it, but for everything else, take additional steps to ensure safety. The most common method of treating rainwater is with a UV light, so implement it. It also pays off to think ahead and have replacement Hanovia UV lamps and other disinfection system spare parts readily available.
3A scope of choice
There are many different types and forms of rainwater harvesting models. One of the most affordable DIY projects to get up and running is actually a rainwater barrel made from a large plastic garbage can. Apart from this simple tool, you would also need a tube of watertight sealant, metal washers, rubber washers, a spigot, drill, hose clamp, and landscaping fabric. After you finish the assembly, position the barrel directly underneath your downspout.
Other, more complex systems require more work and a bigger investment. If you want something more spacious than a water barrel, for instance, consider large above- or below-ground cisterns. They can cover basic rainwater harvesting efforts, but also be connected to an automatic sprinkler system. Therefore, this kind of system serves as a great source of water for various activities around the house, such as flushing the toilet, washing the car, and doing the laundry.
4Cover all the bases
So, you have to find the solution that best suits your needs and the layout of the garden. Moreover, you should take into account the climate in the area where you live, most notably, how often it rains. Another key aspect is how much money you are willing to spend. So, work out a budget and try not to blow it. At the same time, get educated and research the laws in your area regarding rainwater harvesting. Some countries impose limits on the amount of rainwater you can collect without permission.
Furthermore, bear in mind that an automatic system is always a sound option. It facilitates proper irrigation and prevents overwatering. To go the extra mile here, ponder integrating rain and water sensors. With these advanced features, you can water only when you really need to and take your overall water efficiency to the next level. Also, there is a possibility to integrate rainwater harvesting with a greywater system and cover all water needs in the household.
5All systems go
Whatever your choice is, gather the necessary equipment and assemble it. The largest piece you need is generally a barrel that stores the rainwater. Thus, one always needs to pay special attention to it. They come in all shapes and sizes, and apart from the suitable capacity, you must see to it that it does not bear risks of leakages or toxic material contamination. Ideally, it should be covered and screened, as well as easily accessible for cleaning.
Finally, do your best to take proper care of your system to increase its longevity and maintain its maximum performance. Clean and service all parts on a regular basis, including barrels, gutters, rain heads, and water dividers. Proper maintenance goes a long way towards promoting benefits and preventing costly repairs and setbacks. There is no better way to embrace the green way of living and make a positive change in your immediate surroundings.
6Paragon of renewable sustainability
Rainwater harvesting is a win-win, to say the least. It brings benefits for the health of your lawn, your household budget, and Mother Nature. So, why depend on outside companies to have clean water? Get familiar with the regulatory framework as well as various setup options. Determine the budget and pick a system that best matches your specific needs. Put the proper cleaning and treating processes in place. You should be able to enjoy the water and money savings and provide your lawn with nutrients and water it needs to thrive.