Why Conserve Rainwater?

May 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Reduce, Reuse & Recycle

Nature provides a free water source to keep the earth green and flourishing. Why not take advantage of it? By harvesting rainwater to use on your plants, you can save money and be able to keep your plants hydrated even during restrictions due to water shortages or droughts. It is an easy, excellent addition to a green lifestyle to conserve natural resources and protect the environment.

With the investment of a rain barrel, you can make use of rainwater after it has stopped falling. You can use a hose pipe to water landscapes, your garden, lawns, and trees. In many instances it is even better for your plants than potable water because it is naturally soft and doesn’t have added chemicals like chlorine, fluoride, or sodium. It can also be used to wash cars or pets, wash down patios and patio furniture, or as ‘grey water’ in your home to flush toilets and conserve gallons of potable water. With a specialized water treatment filtration system, you can even use rainwater for drinking.

All that you need to get started is a barrel, cistern, or even a bucket. Make sure that you use a fine screen on top to keep animals, children, and mosquitoes out. This is especially important to prevent West Nile virus exposure. If you add a little bit of soap or oil to the surface, it becomes unfavorable for mosquitoes to lay their eggs there. You also want to use the water frequently without letting it stand too long. Keeping the water aerated and moving can prevent bacteria from proliferating there.

The best way to collect rainwater is to put your collecting container under a down pipe. When rainwater is drained off the roof and collected in the gutters, it then drains down the down pipe and into the rainwater collector. There are kits available to build interlinking collectors so that a greater quantity of water can be harvested. There are all different sized rain barrels available, but the most popular hold between 50 and 80 gallons of rainwater. You can easily just use a sturdy trash barrel or plastic 55-gallon barrel available from food processors or importers.

In many drier areas, rain barrels have become an integral part of water conservation efforts. But you don’t have to live in a drier climate to make good use of rainwater conservation. Outdoor watering can account for as much as 40% of home water use. Rain harvesting is an easy way to cut down your home water usage significantly and still have a flourishing outdoor environment.

Another great benefit of rainwater collection systems is that they can reduce the volume of storm water during heavy rainfall, prevent flooding, lessen erosion, and decrease overloaded storm sewers. Because it reduces the demand for groundwater supplies, rainwater collection allows these sources, such as reservoirs, to replenish. This is very important during dry seasons or in areas with high water demand.

Rainwater harvesting has multiple benefits. Making use of nature’s free water supply reduces utility costs, eases up demand on water supplies, and prevents flooding and erosion by reducing storm water runoff. Why conserve rainwater? If living a green lifestyle is your goal, there is no reason not to.