A Beginner’s Guide To Rainwater Harvesting

Water has always been necessary to humanity’s survival, security, and well-being. It’s a basic human necessity and is regarded as a major factor in achieving a better quality of life.

Unfortunately, experts agree that the continued trend of land degradation and population growth today has resulted in the destruction and depletion of natural watersheds. Nevertheless, there are ways of helping ensure enough water supplies for everybody to enjoy. An alternative you could consider for your and your family’s water needs is rainwater harvesting.

Rainwater Harvesting: A Helpful Water Collection Method For Your House

Simply put, rainwater harvesting is the process of collecting, processing, and storing rainwater for later use.

In addition to irrigation purposes, rainwater can be used for potable, non-potable indoor purposes, and stormwater management. Rainwater harvesting is particularly important when other water sources are scarce or of poor quality.

It’s believed that rainwater harvesting is beneficial for both urban and rural residences that have access to ample amounts of rainwater. Rainwater harvesting techniques range from concepts such as a rain barrel to an option called Truck Tanks and others similar to them. They’re usually installed beneath a gutter downspout or complicated systems such as those used in industrial buildings or systems that give potable water ready for utility.

What Are The Usual Components Of A Rainwater Harvesting System

Just like any working system, most rainwater collection systems feature a number of working components cooperating with one another to achieve a single purpose – to be able to effectively gather, process, and store rainwater for household use.

The following are some of the components prominent in many rainwater harvesting systems in the market today. Take note that companies may add their own spin to their offerings but they all usually follow the same mechanism.

The Collection System

Set up a collection system first, which is easiest with a catchment location that runs off a broad surface. Roofs are a common choice for this surface; in certain locations, they’re the only legal option. This is because the roof’s sloped sides catch rainwater well. When installing a rainwater harvesting system, you have several roofing alternatives.

In most homes, rainwater must be collected in a gully before it may flow naturally into the drain. The water is subsequently transported to a storage place.

The Retrieval System

In many cases, the retrieval point is a barrel or a tank. This can then be connected to the conveyance, but note that retrieving water from underground storage tanks requires a pump. Have a filter system installed to prevent clogging of the pipes too.

Rainwater Diversion To A Filtration System

It’s highly recommended that you channel rainwater via a water filtration device. Pre-filtering with straw or charcoal, sand, and gravel can remove foreign particles. Filtering impurities from the collected water before usage can be done in reed beds or other phytoremediation zones.

Should you choose to do this, you can utilize more modern filtration systems to turn rainwater into potable water for your home. An expert can help you put up a safe rainwater harvesting system. It’s better to consult professionals before doing anything like this.

What Are The Different Purposes Of The Collected Rainwater

Essentially, rainwater can be used in place of tap water. Utilizing potable water to irrigate lawns and flush toilets is said to be highly irresponsible and unsustainable, all the more so in light of population growth and water scarcity. Collecting rainwater can assist you in your shift to green-ify your home and lower your household’s overall carbon impact on the environment.

The following are some common household uses for rainwater.

  • With rainwater, you can water your garden or plot cost-free.  You can do this manually or invest in an irrigation system that will save you a lot of time.
  • You may safely wash your dogs with the water in your barrel. Additionally, collected rainwater can be used to clean your car or driveway.
  • Rainwater reservoirs can be used to refill a pond or a pool during dry seasons.
  • Water from rain can be turned into ready-to-use and potable water by filtering and disinfecting it.
  • You can use harvested rainwater to flush the toilet or wash your clothes indoors.
  • Plus, you can use rainwater for emergency purposes such as fire suppression.

In comparison to drinking, cooking, and others, rainwater harvesting systems are relatively low maintenance. This eliminates the need for costly purifying systems.

Rainwater harvesting systems save money and minimize the need for wells. Surplus rainwater can also be utilized to artificially recharge groundwater aquifers.

What Are The Different Ways To Collect Rainwater

One key difference between the variety of rainwater collection methods is the system size. Furthermore, they differ in looks and practical water conservation efficacy.

  • Rain Barrels

Rain barrels are the most typical and well-known approach in doing rainwater harvesting. To proceed, you need to install a rain barrel near a gutter downspout. The actual rain barrel might be recycled or new.

  • Pros
  • Can easily be installed at any home;
  • Barrels are widely accessible locally or online; and
  • Barrels are small and can fit in almost any setting.
  • Cons:
  • They usually overflow and waste collection opportunities easily due to limited storage capacities.
  • Wet System

A wet system is another rainwater harvesting method used by household heads. With it, the collection pipes are buried to connect various downspouts from separate gutters. Rainwater fills the underground pipes and rises in the vertical pipes into the tank.  The tank inlet must be below the house’s lowest gutter.

  • Pros
  • A wet system can collect from several gutters and downspouts; and
  • The tank can be placed far from your home.
  • Cons
  • Wet systems tend to be more expensive due to underground pipes; and
  • A sufficient difference must be made available between tank inlet and gutters.
  • Dry System

In dry rainwater harvesting systems, gravity feeds rainfall into a storage tank for future use. Due to the system relying on gravity to fill the storage tank, your gutters and plumbing must be above the level of the storage tank.

Dry systems are relatively simple. They work best with a flat roof and its components, as well as an unobstructed path around the structure to the storage tank, perhaps a blank wall out of sight to keep the piping basic and clean.

  • Pros
  • Dry systems can generally hold a lot of rainwater;
  • They’re great for climates with less frequent but heavier storms;
  • Their implementation costs are deemed by many as inexpensive; and
  • They’re simpler systems entailing less complicated maintenance.
  • Cons
  • The dry system’s tank must be near your home;
  • If your roof structure needs many downpipes from your gutters to your water tank, the pipework involved in a dry system may become a mess; and
  • Most home systems collect and store water in tanks rather than charging water into the ground for later use.


Thousands of families throughout the world collect rainwater, and you may be the next to reap the benefits it provides. It’s in your best interest to look into rainwater harvesting and its advantages for your household. The abovementioned points are featured in order to help you out in learning more about rainwater harvesting and the possible options you can look into for your house.

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