Although the article below relates to the UK, the reasons for harvesting rainwater and installing rain water tanks are universal. We should all be harvesting rainwater in South Africa, a water-scarce nation on the brink of a national water shortage disaster (which will likely far surpass the seriousness of the current Eskom power supply shortages).
Why harvest rainwater and store it in water tanks?
With a growing population it becomes more and more important for us to manage and protect our resources, the most important of these being, of course, water.
As the importance of water management increases, climate change is noticeably altering our weather patterns. Rain falls for shorter periods but in heavy bursts meaning our current drainage infrastructure is being strained, flooding was widespread this past winter and some of this flooding could have been avoided if our drainage infrastructure was up to scratch.
These problems are dangerous but surprisingly easy to halt, just small changes can make a big different and rainwater harvesting is one of these changes.
How does harvesting rainwater help?
Reduce reliance on potable water
30% of potable water is lost in network leaks and only a tiny fraction of this drinking water is actually used to cook or drink. We wash our cars, water our plants and flush our toilets with this incredibly clean water and producing 1 litre of drinking water releases 0.3g of CO2. With rainwater harvesting our total reliance on clinically clean water can be reduced significantly (by up to 50%!).
Reduce strain on our drainage systems
When we pave over our soluble ground we prevent rainwater from slowly seeping into the soil and joining the water table where it is gradually moved to the ocean. Our suburbs have become a concrete jungle where water can commonly be seen rapidly flowing down our roads and gutters with large amounts of detritus clogging our drains. In an average neighborhood at least half of the surface area is taken up by houses and more importantly, roofs. If you harvest this rain water and gradually release it into the natural water course instead of directly into our streets you reduce the peak rate of water run-off from your property dramatically, doing your bit to prevent drain strain and ultimately flooding.
Fully integrated rainwater harvesting solutions mean your flushing water, gardening water and general purpose, non-drinking water can all be free of charge. Harvesting rainwater and installing rain water tanks can reduce your reliance on mains water by 50%, halving your water bill.
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