Water Harvesting Art: Function Meets Beauty

Taking rainwater harvesting and making it a beautiful art form will appeal to bmany homeowners. A modern rainwater harvesting system can be cleverly disguised as art forms too – rain water tanks also need not be visible; underground water tanks can be installed.

Even before house gutters were invented, harvesting water was a technique that mankind utilized for many centuries. The most notable example is the beautiful, complex water collection system at the ancient town of Petra in Jordan.

An engineering feat developed at about the same time as the pyramids in Egypt, the Petra system is a sophisticated integration of water channels, ceramic pipes, and underground cisterns. In an area prone to flash flooding and periods of drought, water was managed to ensure continuous water supply for the city. The ingenious public works project brought prosperity to the city’s dwellers for many centuries. So it seems natural that with increased weather pattern fluctuations, modern man is starting to harvest water.

rain water harvesting

Water collection was important to the ancient city of Petra in Jordan.

Why is water harvesting important?

Water harvesting is a cost-saving measure that is also beneficial to the environment, which is under pressure from growing populations. This is especially a problem in dry areas such as the sunny Southwest where the large Baby Boomer population is seeking retirement living.

Xeriscaping — landscaping with native plants such as cacti in Arizona or native prairie grass in Texas — only goes so far, as all plants do need some water to survive.

Golf courses and other public areas such as outdoor walking paths and shopping centers, which are popular in these retirement communities, have been using water collection for years. You will sometimes notice small signs that say “Grey water used for irrigation” or “No water from public reservoir used on this property.” This effort is a good PR campaign for an industry that is under pressure from conservation groups. For the individual homeowner, lawns will no longer suffer from city watering limitations during drought periods when they collect and save their own water to use in their gardens.

With more and more people drinking spring water, the largest portion of tap water seems to go to flushing toilets, cleaning, filling swimming pools, and watering gardens. These are all applications that can use rainwater or treated waste water, often called “grey water.”

Water Harvest Art

Traditional gutters can be unsightly, clashing with the green image of a home harvesting its own water. Anyone who has traveled to New Zealand or throughout South Africa will remember the beautiful cascades of swaying flower or cup designs that emerge from roofs falling to the ground or ending in a rain barrel.


Close-up of a Japanese Kusari-Doi for water collection.

                                                                                                    Kusari-Doi Photo Credit : FireTooth

The Kusari-Doi Japanese concept of rain collection art has been used for centuries and can often be seen in ancient temple designs, like the ones in Kyoto. Modern options include copper or other metals that are available in beautiful natural colors.

Water harvest art gently guides water from the top of the house, leading it to a collection device. In Japan, water features are prominent in gardens to provide both visual and auditory pleasures. The flow of water down water harvesting art adds the sound of gentle waterfalls to the home’s atmosphere.

Collection Systems

Water collection at its most simple is a rain barrel or rain water tank or urn that is then used to feed the garden or conduct other household tasks. However, high-tech systems are now available that collect water into sophisticated water tanks where there are filters to remove debris, insects and their waste, as well as other impurities. These larger water tanks can save water over a longer period of time, increasing the time management of the water distribution. They also may have pumps and other mechanical processes for getting water to its destination within the home.

Whether you choose to simply collect rainwater for your garden, or invest in technology to meet all your household water needs, water harvest art is sure to bring pleasure to your home!

Source: Sarah Boisvert (Sarah Boisvert writes on a variety of topics ranging from business management to music and entertainment. She first saw water collection art in New Zealand and actually installed a system in her American home).

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