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What Is Rainwater Harvesting?


Rainwater harvesting is the collecting and diverting of water that falls during a rain event into a storage system where the water can then be used at a later time.

The water is commonly collected from building roof areas and then stored in either above-ground or underground storage containers with capacities that can be as little as 50 gallons and as great as 6,000 gallons or more.

Rainwater harvesting can also involve both residential and non-residential applications.

Uses for Rainwater That Is Harvested

Rainwater that is collected for reuse can be used in a couple of different ways. The following are three examples.

1) Irrigating land – The stored water can be used to help keep your garden or farm land irrigated.

2) Washing vehicles – This is another good way to use rainwater that can keep you from using up your regular water supply too quickly.

3) Flushing toilets – This could be a good conservation practice for small buildings that include bathrooms with toilets.

Reasons to Consider Rainwater Harvesting

The following are two main reasons for implementing a rainwater harvesting program.

1) Save money – Using stored rainwater keeps you from having to run up your private water bill.

2) Contribute to stormwater management volume requirements for new land developments – The volume of stored rainwater might be allowed to go toward stormwater management storage requirements.

How Rainwater Harvesting Helps With Stormwater Management

A new land development project normally requires a certain amount of stormwater runoff that has to be retained on the project site. Since rainwater harvesting retains rainwater on the site to be used at a later time, the volume stored in a rainwater harvesting container could be used as a credit toward stormwater management.

Whether rainwater harvesting can be used as credit toward stormwater management will depend on the municipality where your project is located and the engineer that will review your land development design.

Related: Stormwater Management (A Guide for the Non-Professional)

Why You Should Consider Rainwater Harvesting

Rainwater harvesting is something worth considering if you want to save some money from your private water usage or if you want to potentially reduce the impact of a regular stormwater management design for a new land development project.

If you would want to include some kind of rainwater harvesting system as a part of your land development project, consulting with the civil engineer that is designing your project would be a good first step.

Related: Recommendations for Rainwater Harvesting Containers

Related: Recommendations for Rainwater Harvesting Books

Posted in Land Development

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