Water. Without it, all life on this planet would cease to exist. As humans we not only consume water, we bathe in it, wash dishes and clothes in it, we even swim in for leisure and watch it shoot out of fountains.
Humans are particularly wasteful with water. I wasn’t until a few years ago that low flow appliances were made mandatory in new homes. Now a large number of homes have low flow water spigots, toilets with reduced water capacity and lawn watering restrictions.
Yet when it rains, the water is not collected and it’s allowed to accumulate in gutters and drains filled with toxic waste and pollutants. Every time it rains, we waste our water.
What if there was a way to capture that water? There is! With rainwater harvesting systems. These rainwater harvesting systems can be easily built simple structures or become complex complete water systems for home and business use.
One of the simplest designs to date is a simple gutter collection system with a cistern. Rainwater from the roof of your home is collected in a series of gutters and downspouts. The downspouts lead to a series of pipes which in turn lead to a large, plastic underground cistern. Complete with an electric sump pump that is hooked into an irrigation system, you can water your lawn free from water restrictions.
For larger systems that recycle gray water and other waste water you will probably start to spend a few thousand dollars. Online at www.harvesth2o.com has quite a few links to sites that sell rainwater harvesting equipment. There is also links to a few really ingenious plans for rainwater harvesting techniques.
At my home I use four rain barrels. These plastic rain barrels attach to my existing gutter system. While they are unattractive, my wife decorated our rain barrels with murals that match the surrounding garden.
My rain barrels are easy to access for cleaning. A built in water spigot at the bottom allows me to hook up a hose to water my garden with. We get more rain than we can use so I installed an overflow valve at the top of the barrel. Once the barrel is full it spills out the side preventing the top from coming off when it fills with water.
We plan on upgrading our rain water collection system with an underground cistern and sump-pump in the future. Our plans are to have two underground cisterns with each holding a maximum of 2000 gallons each. This should be enough to water our one acre lot for about one month without any rain.