Rain Catchment Systems for the Home

 In Home and Building development, Intentions
water falls-in-glacier

Many sociologists and environmentalists predict that in the coming decades, the natural resource over which countries go to war will not be oil but water. When the numbers are examined, it makes sense: approximately 97% of the water on Earth is the saltwater in the oceans and the seas. Of the 3% that is left in the form of freshwater is bound up in the polar ice caps or deep underground in aquifers – only about 1% of the earth’s total water is readily available to man. With a rising population, this, too means that there will be less and less of it to go around.

Many people are taking matters into their own hands through good water conservation practices in their homes and around their yards and gardens. One such practice is the establishment of a home rain catchment system which allows rainwater to be collected for home and garden use.

Rain Catchment Barrels
The simplest method for rain catchment is attaching a 55-gallon barrel to the gutter system of your house so that the rainwater, instead of running off the roof, will collect in the barrel itself. This can cut down greatly on water bills, since approximately half of water consumption is for outdoor use. It is also a very efficient method: it is estimated that 600 gallons of water can be collected from 1 inch of rain falling on a 1000 square foot roof. This 55-gallon barrels can be purchased online, converted from large trash bins or other containers, or made from scratch. Directions on DIY rain barrels are available from www.boardofwatersupply.com/files/BWS%20rain%20barrel%20info%20sheet-2011.pdf.


The 55-gallon barrel mentioned above is the most basic and popular method of rain catchment for outdoor use. There are variations on this, however. Some people want to store a much larger amount of rainwater for use in both their gardens and their homes and will store rainwater in 1,600-2,500 gallon tanks (these can be stored along the side of the house or under decks, depending on the space available). Some people will also connect many 55-gallon barrels together for continuous storage space. Rainwater can be used in the home for washing dishes and clothing and even flushing toilets. For an example of rainwater use for toilets, see www.phoenixsailingcharters.com/rainwater.htm. These systems can also be used to gather water for use on livestock or on wildlife.

These systems are becoming increasing popular all over the world. They can save homeowners money, reduce the use of potable water for non-potable uses (in other words, less drinking water is being used to water gardens or yards), and in many developing countries, it helps provide water for household and personal hygiene use that might not otherwise be available. Consider adding a simple rain catchment system to your home today and become a part of a worldwide movement to democratize access to water and conserve usage around the yard and home.

City of Honolulu, Board of Water Supply www.hbws.com
Build it Solar Website. www.builditsolar.com
University of Michigan www.umich.edu

by The Great Gathering
Copyright The Great Gathering 2014©

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