If you are looking to improve the way you collect rainwater, make sure to come up with a water budget. This must include the average rainfall in your area, the size of the roof catchment area, the area for the rainwater storage tank or barrel, and the number of litres of water you use for gardening and household chores (excluding bathing, dishwashing, and the laundry). Of course, you should also take into account your current financial situation, as rainwater harvesting components can be quite costly, especially if they are made by reputed manufacturers.
- Once you have done the above, you must then gather the needed equipment. The first one you need to obtain is the water tank or barrel. Choose one that fits in the part of the property where you think it must be situated. Also, choose one that can keep the stored water clean and safe for a long time.
Next, choose and obtain a pump system that will distribute water to different parts of your house or office, if necessary. Purchase the rest of the parts needed for your rainwater harvesting system at this point.
- Assemble the system. Set up the tank, preferably on a flat, raised, and durable platform under the gutters. This way, you can access the outlet or spigot at the bottom when you need to use the stored rainwater.
If the barrel or tank that you purchased does not come with a filter, have a mesh screen attached at the top of the barrel. This will serve to filter incoming rainwater. You have two choices for mesh screens; you can use a fine mesh or you can use layers of mesh.
If you would like to maximise the use of collected rainwater, however, you should get a filter that is specifically designed for collecting rainwater.
- Of course, it’s important that you check the surface of the roof. Provided that the roof that will be used for your rainwater harvesting system is made of (non-toxic) materials such as clay tiles, cement tiles, glazed tiles, or steel sheets, proceed with checking if there is dirt and if there are withered leaves and bird droppings on their surfaces. If there really is dirt on the roof, make sure to clean its surface before the rain comes.
Of course, use another roof or replace the roof if it is painted or if it is made of asphalt shingles.
- Keep in mind that stagnant water is a perfect breeding area for mosquitoes and other insects, so make sure to seal all openings. Leaks should also be sealed. Not only do they deprive you of rainwater you can use for your chores, leaks also cause water to pool somewhere else. Pooled water is not only a great breeding ground for insects, it also causes accidents.
- Like all home and office essentials, proper maintenance of your rainwater harvesting system is important. Rain heads, gutters, barrels, tanks, and water diverters need to be cleaned and serviced on a regular basis. You can do this task yourself or you can hire someone to do it for you.
Rainwater harvesting is a practice that helps you save a significant amount of money on water bills. If you wish to start your own home or office system, make sure to consult with your local government first. Some areas have laws against rainwater harvesting.
Rey Carlos Rosales works as a rainwater harvesting consultant for Rainwater Tanks Direct. Outside of work, he plays video games, reads books, watches movies, and plays with cats and dogs. For rainwater storage tank options, check out Rainwater Tanks Direct: http://www.rainwatertanksdirect.com.au/.