Rainwater harvesting is a simple idea. It’s not complicated. For many, many years people all over the world have been collecting rainwater and putting it to good use. The key is to do it well and plan what kind of system you want and what you want to use the water for, before installing it.
Rainwater harvesting systems can be either for full domestic use, which includes flushing WCs, supplying the washing machine, an external tap for use outside and even a sink in a utility room for cleaning water only, as well as just garden use outside with a garden only system. Typically, garden only systems do not have a mains water backup operation as they provide harvested rainwater when it is available from the tank. But they don’t store up mains water as this would use up valuable rainwater storage room inside the tank or tanks.
You would get more use out of your rainwater harvesting system if you used it for domestic purposes as more of your household appliances will be using rainwater instead of mains water. In fact, you can save up to 50% of your mains water usage by using rainwater instead. This is great for the environment as you are reducing the demand for mains water and substituting it for a natural resource.
Installing a rainwater harvesting system can save you money in the long run if you are using rainwater for your washing machine. As rainwater is soft compared to mains water which is known to be harder you won’t need to buy clothing softeners to put in your wash and it won’t cause limescale to build up in your washing machine, therefore reducing the risk of your appliance breaking down due to a build-up of limescale.
If you are thinking about using rainwater for your garden, you should know that watering your plants with rainwater instead of mains water is much better for your garden. As mentioned before as rainwater is soft and free from salts, minerals and chemicals, it is better for your plants as these materials found in mains water can cause damage to your plants over time. Also, rainwater has the correct pH level for the majority of plants in your garden, this includes plants that prefer slightly acidic water.
Rainwater harvesting is a simple and sensible concept yet many in the UK still don’t understand the benefits. Especially how much it can benefit the environment and reduce the strain on precious mains water which is a dwindling resource. With the UK expected to suffer from severe water shortages within the next 20-25 years, it is now more important than ever for households in the UK to benefit from rainwater harvesting to ensure there is enough drinking quality water for future generations.