Rainwater harvesting simply refers to the collection and storage of rainwater for future use. In semi-arid and arid regions such as South Africa, water supply is limited and can be expensive. Droughts and erratic rainfall can lead to a lack access to good quality water for drinking, growing and preparing food. Water is also needed to provide water for animals, vegetables, crops and trees.
Capturing rainwater within a system can supplement the water supply needed on your property. The amount of water you can capture depends on how much rain falls in your area, and what the capacity of your capture system is.
Benefits of Rainwater Harvesting:
- Rainwater is free in South Africa, and therefore saves you money on your water bill
- You control your own water supply, and are therefore not subject to pipeline interruption or problems with outside sources of water.
- You control the quality of the water you use
- Collecting rainwater reduces run-off and erosion
- Rainwater is available immediately for putting out fires
- Rainwater is free of chlorine and its byproducts, and is also free of pesticides and other man-made contaminants
- Rainwater is naturally soft (it contains no dissolved minerals)
- Capturing rainwater reduces the need for the pumping of mains water, and the energy use, pollution and CO2 emissions that go with it
How to Harvest Rain :
Rainwater can be harvested through capture systems, which vary in their complexity and are designed to meet different needs.
Catching and storing rainwater from the roof of houses, schools and other buildings is the most common form of rainwater harvesting. Even a small roof can collect a lot of water during light rain. Water is usually channeled from the roof into a gutter and then channeled into a water collection tank.
The six basic components of a rain water harvesting system include:
- Catchment: roof surface to collect the rain
- Conveyance: channels or pipes from roof or catchment area to storage
- Roof washing: ‘first flush’ diverter system to filter and remove contaminants
- Storage: cisterns or tanks where collected rainwater is securely stored – i.e. insect proof
- Purification: includes filtration, ozone or UV light to purify the collected rainwater for cooking, drinking and bathing.
- Distribution: system that delivers the rainwater, usually including a small pump and pressure tank
Check out the rainwater capture systems offered on GW Store, and pick one that best suits your needs!