That was in 2002, when I was a recent graduate searching for a job relevant to my bachelor’s degree in resource management. Lo and behold, I got an internship with the City of Bellingham to develop and implement a rain barrel pilot project. I was enthusiastic to learn about rainwater harvesting, but still not convinced it was worth the effort. I didn’t realize then what a big impact a little rain barrel can have, not only in our own community, but in other countries as well.
Rainwater harvesting is the process of collecting water from an impervious surface, such as a roof, or from a pervious surface, such as soil, and routing it to a location where it is used beneficially. This can be done passively through storage of water directly in the ground (e.g., rain gardens) or actively through storage of water in water tanks for later use (e.g., rain barrels, rainwater tanks or larger rainwater catchment systems). Active storage systems can range in capacity from 55 gallons to more than 10,000 gallons.
Developing countries have been harvesting rainwater for centuries, and over the years it’s become an increasingly popular topic nationally and internationally. The American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association (arcsa.org) has grown from 80 to more than 800 members in just a few years, and it’s still growing. Developed countries, such as Australia, have incorporated rainwater harvesting into municipal water supply management.
Why the increased interest in rainwater harvesting?
Rainwater harvesting accomplishes both water conservation and stormwater management. Active rainwater harvesting conserves treated drinking water supplies (called potable water) by pairing the appropriate water quality with the appropriate end use. End uses that don’t require potable water include watering landscapes, flushing toilets, washing clothes and washing cars. As one of my mentors, Mark Buehrer at 2020 Engineering, succinctly put it, “Why are we peeing in our drinking water?”
Passive rainwater harvesting addresses stormwater management by retaining rainwater on-site and by reducing runoff that would otherwise contribute to stormwater pollution, flooding and erosion. Both active and passive water harvesting combine to manage runoff in the built environment.
You may wonder, “We don’t have a water shortage. Why should we collect rainwater?”
By conserving water, we can reduce costs. Typically, Bellingham residents collectively use about 10 million gallons of potable water per day. In the summer, potable water demand can increase to 20 million gallons per day. Chemicals and energy are required to treat and deliver this water. As a community, reducing demand for potable water can help lower energy consumption and costs at the Water Treatment Plant. For individuals, water harvested on-site for appropriate end uses is, basically, free water.
The national average water consumption is 101 gallons per person per day! If high-efficiency water fixtures were installed everywhere, and rainwater was used instead of drinking water for non-potable uses, the drinking water demand could be reduced to 27 gallons per person per day. Bellingham’s average annual rainfall is approximately 35 inches. In just a one-inch rain event, a 1,000-square-foot surface can collect up to 623 gallons of water. A 2,000-square-foot home with an active rainwater harvesting system could collect up to 43,750 gallons of water per year, enough to meet the annual average water demand for one person.
Rain barrels have been called a lot of names: the gateway drug to larger harvesting systems, ugly and a waste of time and money. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
My opinion is that when you spend a little time learning about the deeper concepts of rainwater harvesting, you start to think, “Why aren’t there rainwater harvesting systems at all homes, office buildings, hotels, and golf courses?”
Source: The Bellingham Herald (by ANITRA ACCETTURO)
Rainwater collection is becoming increasingly popular (and necessary) in South Africa. In it’s simplest form, a rainwater harvesting system can consist of a ‘rain barrel’ (or small water tank) and a pipe diverting rainwater from the roof. More complex rainwater harvesting systems can integrate with your existing water supply and the rain water stored in water tanks out of sight or even in underground water tanks. There really is no excuse for homes and business with suitable rooftops not to harvest rain, especially in South Africa where water scarcity is a daily reality.
JoJo Tanks South Africa offer a wide range of plastic water tanks and chemical tanks to suit every household, business or agricultural need, including silo tanks and silo tank stands. See JoJo Tanks VERTICAL TANKS, HORIZONTAL TANKS (transporter tanks), STEEL TANK STANDS and OTHER JOJO PRODUCTS. Also see JoJo Tanks’ NEW 6000 LITRE UNDERGROUND TANKS. Also see our FAQ and WATER TANK PRICES.
JoJo’s superior polyethylene plastic water tanks and steel water tank stands make JoJo Tanks the leaders in plastic water tank technology and the quality, affordability and guarantee on these water tanks make JoJo products the best choice in South Africa. JoJo’s water tanks and chemical tanks come standard with a number of features that are often lacking on cheaper/inferior plastic tanks made by other companies in South Africa.
We are authorised JoJo Tanks dealers in South Africa and dispatch orders directly from JoJo Tank depots to save on transport costs. Full range of JoJo Tanks products and JoJo water tanks for sale. CONTACT US for a quote on the right JoJo water tank or other JoJo product for you. Special discounts are available on multiple orders of chemical tanks and water tanks and to our commercial and government customers.
SPECIAL ON MULTIPLE ORDERS OF 10000 LITRE JOJO WATER TANKS…CONTACT US FOR A FREE QUOTE!