New Zealand: Rain ‘an under-utilized resource’

Collecting rainwater is not high on most Cantabrians’ to-do lists, but an expert thinks it should be, since the earthquakes caused many to lose their water supply.

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High potential for rainwater harvesting in New Zealand not fully utilized

Christchurch rainwater harvesting consultant John Gould said the February 2011 earthquake showed the importance of having an independent water source.

Gould and his family used rainwater for a few weeks after the quakes.

“We have got a little 200 litre rain water tank,” he said. “For a couple of weeks, we were fetching rainwater to flush the toilet and wash things. We were 200 litres better off than our neighbours.”

However, shops and suppliers have not seen a rise in the installation of rainwater harvesting systems or rain water tanks.

Bunnings Warehouse Shirley trade manager Michael Martin said rainwater tank sales there spiked last year when water restrictions were in place, but things were quieter this year.

“At the moment we are selling one water tank a month. People are looking at them for emergency water supplies.”

People usually went for the smaller, 800-litre water tanks, he said.

“They tend to ask [about rainwater tanks] as summer comes on. With the rain we have been having, people haven’t thought about it yet.”

Chris Cleary, of Clearwater Spouting, said few people had been buying rainwater-harvesting systems despite promotions.

He said he had installed about five this year.

Source: Stuff.co.nz (By Francesca Lee)

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