It’s long been proven that the rain that falls from the sky is actually clean and rich in nutrients, and this is why it shouldn’t be surprising that civilizations throughout time have used it as either primary or alternative source of water.
Of course, a most effective way of experiencing the benefits of rainwater is its collection and storage in a container. Unfortunately, this approach alone, done nowadays, is unsafe. All the pollution that’s in the air right now, like vehicle and factory emissions and soot, can be picked up by each drop of rain that falls. The same pollution can also build up on our roofs, along with animal droppings, dust, and leaves, and this rainfall can drive all the way into the container. Once enough of these have accumulated in stored water, whoever drinks it ends up sick. Unclean water is also not advisable for use in a number of household tasks and chores that require water.
How should you ensure the cleanliness of collected rainwater?
➜ The first thing to think of is the roof where the rain to be collected, stored, and used should fall. Your safest bet in this regard is an unpainted metal roof. By leaving the metal roof unpainted, no chemical component of paint seeps into the water. A metal roof doesn’t have any harmful components, physical or chemical, that you need to worry about.
➜ The second thing to consider is the pipework that needs to be laid down. Fortunately, you don’t need to worry much about pipes for rainwater harvesting since most are food-grade anyway.
➜ The third thing to consider is the number of screens, first flush diverter, and filters that need to be set up. Screens are usually set up at the gutter, downpipe, and inlet. The first flush diverter, a device that removes the first flow of rain (usually filled with pollutants and contaminants) after a long dry spell, should be placed before an inlet and right after a screen on every downpipe that feeds into your storage container. As for filters, however, they must only be installed in cases where fine pollutants or water discoloration are things of concern.
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➜ The fourth thing to consider is the container where rainwater needs to end up in. In this regard, you have a number of options.
- The first is a barrel. They are easy to set up in your property but have a severely limited capacity. As you use water for more tasks in your home, more barrels need to be set up and connected, and in no time, you will lose a lot of precious vacant space in your yard. Let’s not forget to mention that a rain barrel does not offer any sort of filtration.
- The second and much better option is a rainwater storage tank. They do take time to set up, especially the underdeck and underground ones, but most models from Rainwater Tanks Direct have more than double the water capacity of a barrel. The tank also has screens to prevent the entry of insects and most particles of dirt.
➜ The fifth rainwater harvesting essential to consider is the pump. Consider going beyond the basic pump model if you want to use rainwater for more chores or want to distribute the stored rainwater to more parts of your home.
Indeed, a lot of work needs to be done and a lot of money needs to be invested if you want rainwater that’s truly clean. But in exchange, you not only get a sure and clean supply of water—you also get to save even more than you invested in the long run. How much exactly depends on how you use mains water in the first place.
On average, 40 percent of water is used in the laundry each year, and if you purify rainwater enough to make it suitable for doing the laundry, then you can save that much on water costs each year. Add 27 percent more per year if you supply rainwater to your shower and toilet tank. That’s a lot of money you can save and use for other household essentials and investments. A rainwater harvesting system indeed is a worthwhile investment.
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