As the climate changes and society becomes more eco-conscious, you may be looking for ways to live a more sustainable life. The world is full of natural resources, but as they deplete, we may need to find alternative ways to collect these resources.
So what can we do? Well, we can make use of the weather!
Rainwater is a versatile resource that can be collected to be used at home. It’s a great way to save money and become more environmentally friendly.
With more rainfall comes more possibilities, and depending on your area’s climate, you may be able to collect enough for all your water needs. This guide will teach you how to save rainwater and how you can use it.
What Are The Benefits Of Saving Rainwater?
There are some compelling reasons why saving rainwater is beneficial for you and the world around you. First of all, rainwater is relatively clean and especially good for gardening, keeping your plants healthy and chlorine-free.
Those with green thumbs will see the benefits as you expand your garden.
Saving rainwater is also environmentally responsible and reduces your carbon footprint, which is so important as our world changes.
It is a future-proof way of keeping water flowing through your home and gives you an emergency backup source in case of emergency, leading you one step closer to self-sufficiency. It also allows you to control water usage in your home.
You can also save money on your bills by saving rainwater for home use. Rainwater is, of course, completely free and can be simply maintained, making it easier than ever to reduce your spending on a life necessity.
Finally, a rainwater collection system is flexible and can be fitted to suit your home, while also solving drainage problems and runoff.
Saving rainwater is great for the structure of your property and can be easily reconfigured, allowing for expansion and relocation.
What Are The Uses Of Rainwater?
Rainwater can be used anywhere you use tap water. If your system is big enough and you have enough rainfall in your area, you can fit your entire property with a rainwater system.
You can use this water for irrigation use, potable use, and non-potable use.
Some specific uses for rainwater in your home include:
- Watering your lawn and garden
- Connecting to your irrigation and sprinkler systems
- Washing your vehicles
- Refilling your swimming pool
- Washing your driveway
- Indoor non-potable fixtures, such as toilets
- Potable needs after filtration and disinfection
How To Save Rainwater On A Small Scale
For those wanting to collect rainwater on a small scale, or those just wanting to walk before they can run, here are two beginner methods for saving rainwater.
The Barrel Method
This method is perfect for getting you started. It’s the most common and well-known system for rainwater collection. It is simple and easy to install with the right equipment. You will need:
- A large plastic barrel
- Watertight sealant
- 2 rubber washers
- 2 metal washers
- A spigot
- A drill with large drill bits
- A box cutter
- Landscaping fabric
Drill A Hole Near the Bottom Of A Plastic Barrel
Use a hand drill to drill a hole in the side of your barrel, approximately 5 inches from the bottom. This hole will be for your spigot, so make sure to use a drill bit that’s the same size.
Attach The Spigot
Slide a metal washer onto the screw end of the spigot, and then a rubber washer over the screws to stop leakage. Apply waterproof sealant over the rubber washer, insert the spigot into the hole, and let dry.
Once it’s dry, secure it on the inside with another rubber washer and metal washer.
Cut a Hole In The Top Of The Barrel
Place the barrel under your home’s downspout and cut a hole in the top of the barrel with a box cutter, making sure the downspout is aimed directly into it.
Place Landscaping Fabric
Cut a large piece of landscaping and place it over the entire opening to keep out pests. Be sure to secure it well.
The Tarp Method
Another way you can save rainwater is through the tarp method. For this method, you will need:
- A shovel
- A large tarp
- PVC piping
- Watertight sealant
- A storage unit (a tank or tarp-covered hole)
- String (to measure elevation)
- Stakes (to measure elevation)
Choose Elevated Land
Find a flat area that’s elevated above your storage unit, and that slopes towards the lower corner that’s closest to your unit.
Using your shovel, clear a large area the size of your tarp of any debris and create a border of berm edges. This will help hold the water.
Lay Out Tarp
Lay out your tarp so it covers the whole area. Its edges should lay over the bermed border of your collection area. Make sure you secure it with rocks and several inches of dirt to keep your tarp in place and prevent flapping.
Run a Drainpipe to Collection Tank
Cut a hole through the lowest corner of the collection tarp, insert PVC piping and seal it with watertight sealant. You can then run the pipe down the slope to your collection tank.
How To Save Rainwater On A Large Scale
If you’re looking to fit out your entire home with rainwater, or just collect more of it, there are two methods for saving rainwater on a larger scale.
The Dry System
This method is a variation of the barrel method, but it involves a larger storage tank. Essentially, the collection pipe dries after each downpour since it empties directly into the top of the tank. This method stores more rainwater and is great for heavy rainfall areas.
The Wet System
This method involves locating the collection pipes underground to connect multiple downspouts from different gutters. The rainwater will fill the underground piping and the water will rise in the vertical pipes until it spills into the tank.
The downspouts and underground collection piping must have water-tight connections. The elevation of the tank inlet must be below the lowest gutter in your home.
This enables you to collect enough water for your entire home and can be located away from your home. However, you will need outside help to install this more complex system.
With the frequency of water shortages increasing, it is important that we begin to prepare ourselves with alternative water sources. Saving rainwater is cheap, sustainable, and controllable, making it a great option for your home.