What are the Benefits & Advantages of Rainwater Harvesting?
It’s become more popular all over world to collect rainwater for various uses around the house and on your property. You might be asking yourself why. Isn’t water one of the most available resources on the planet? While it is true that almost 3/4 of the earth is covered in water, most of it can’t be used for drinking and many other uses. Not to mention, it wouldn’t be economically feasible to pipe it where it’s needed.
Harvesting rainwater is simple really. As it rains, we usually just let the water saturate the ground or run into storm drains, creeks, and streams. Most of the time it’s just going to waste. The idea is to collect the water as it rains, typically as it comes off your roof, and store it for later use. This often means gathering the water from a gutter or downspout and redirecting it into large containers called “rain barrels”. This concept has been in use for thousands of years, but has really taken off at a rapid pace in recent years for a multitude of reasons.
There are really MANY benefits and advantages of rainwater harvesting, but we’ll focus 6 of the biggest ones below. Of course once you read through these, you’ll probably want to join in the fun and pick up the hobby yourself. If that’s the case, head on over to our post on the Best Rain Barrels and find the one that best fits your needs.
6 Advantages of Rainwater Harvesting
As briefly mentioned above, there are many benefits to harvesting rainwater, not just the few we mention below. But, hey we don’t have the time to mention thousands of reasons and they don’t all pertain to the average reader of our blog anyway.
1. It Reduces Your Water Bill
Once your rain collection system is built, the water you gather from the rain is FREE. By using this water to irrigate your garden, water your plants and flowers, and any other non-drinking functions reduces the burden you put on the area’s water supply during peak times, thus decreasing your utility bills for city or rural water.
2. Safe & Natural Plant Food Source
Because the rainwater did not come from our tap water, it doesn’t contain the salts or fluoride and chlorine that gets added to our drinking water. This makes it an all natural and organic source of water for our plants and flowers around the house. It’s just another way to reduce the amount of chemicals around, especially if you’ll be watering your garden with it.
3. Alternative Water Source During Drought
There are some areas of the country that struggle during certain times of the year to have enough water (i.e. California), not to mention times of drought. Having this water on-site ensures that your family always has the water it needs, even when there might be water usage restrictions by the local government.
4. Survival or Emergency Water Supply
We’ve all heard from the preppers that the water supply could some day be tainted. Admittedly, this would be devastating to our population if it ever happened. Having an extra back up source of water for your family could be vital sometime. I can think of a few other scenarios where it’s possible where pipes freeze or break and you could be happy to have a back up source.
5. It Reduces Local Flooding and Soil Erosion
By capturing a percentage of the water during a storm, we’re decreasing the amount of storm water runoff in the area. During times of downpour, this could really do a lot to help reduce flash flooding and erosion.
6. Less Ground Water Contamination
Stormwater runoff is a significant source of ground water contamination according to the EPA. It causes chemicals like pesticides and fertilizers to be carried into lakes, rivers, and streams as the rainwater drains from our streets. By collecting that water to use for all the positive things we mentioned above, we’ll be reducing that runoff.
How To Harvest Rainwater
Not sure how exactly to harvest rainwater? Don’t be nervous, you’re not alone. However, there are TONS of free resources around the web that can help you become an expert in no time. Here’s a great infographic from our friends over at Verge Permaculture who have lots of information on the topic.