As more Americans are becoming more conscious of their ecological footprint, understanding the benefits of rainwater harvesting is gaining popularity. Rainwater harvesting involves collecting rainwater, filtering it to improve water quality, and then using it to irrigate fields, gardens, and landscapes. Benefits of rainwater harvesting range from improving crop production to controlling water runoff and improving municipal water quality. An additional benefit of this practice is that it reduces or eliminates the use of municipal water resources. A more detailed look at the benefits of rainwater harvesting is outlined here.
The economic benefits of rainwater harvesting relate to reduced environmental impacts associated with runoff. Rainwater harvested through catchment systems and other localized precipitation management systems can improve water quality by removing sediment and other contaminants that would otherwise end up in storm drains, rivers and streams. The removal of storm runoff can also reduce a city’s storm water peak flow rate and velocity, thus decreasing the risk for streamflow erosion. Finally, the flow rate of untreated water is reduced because of gravity and evaporation. These reduced flows can help reduce the volume of pollutants in the atmosphere, which can have a significant impact on climate change.
Another benefit of rainwater harvesting relates to the conservation of water. Nearly two-thirds of the earth’s freshwater reservoirs are found in the United States. Most reservoirs are used for agricultural use, such as dairy and corn production, or other non-ecological uses, such as landscape irrigation. To preserve and improve these resources, it is important to harvest rainwater on a sustainable basis, especially in arid and semi-arid regions. One way to do this is through Rainwater Optics, a form of passive solar garden where rainwater collected on the roof is used to water plants and landscape features. An additional benefit of Rainwater Optics is that it can be incorporated into any existing landscape design.
Rainwater harvesting can also help reduce or prevent the development of erosion, an environmental impact that contributes largely to global warming. Erosion occurs when soil is removed to allow for a greater water resource to replenish it. It is a leading cause of flooding, especially in low-lying areas. Rainwater Harvesting can be used to preserve and restore natural landscapes and reduce the threat posed by erosion, helping to conserve water and promote biodiversity.
A Rainwater Harvesting system reduces water loss from storm runoff. This prevents run-off from happening, which minimizes flood damage. A rainwater harvesting system is designed to collect runoff that comes from different sources, including a roof or parking lot. After collecting the runoff, the system channels it into storage tanks for later use.
In many cases, rural areas do not have access to stored water. Tanks are large and require substantial amounts of room to house them. Tanks can also leak and flood, which are very costly. If no tank is in place to store rainwater, the rain will simply run off the roof or into drainage channels until it runs out onto the ground where it ends up losing moisture. There are few options available to prevent the loss of moisture. Rainwater Harvesting provides a cost effective, long-term solution to this problem.
In addition to reducing flooding and runoff, rainwater harvesting has other benefits. Catchment management includes a number of different methods to decrease runoff. Some of the different methods include re-routing gutters to direct runoff away from gardens and driveways, using a filter on gutter systems to prevent clogging, and the installation of a catchment filter on your home. Each method can be individually implemented, but often, when too many are applied at once, they can prove to be overwhelming. A Rainwater Harvesting plant can be installed easily and inexpensively and will relieve you of the stress and worry that often comes with catchment management.
The process of rainwater harvesting is simple. You must locate a suitable location that has direct access to a body of water. Next, you must create a body of water with the proper contour and height to support the weight of the collection system. Next, it is necessary to create a catchment channel that collects the runoff. Last, it is necessary to install a Rainwater Harvesting unit and watch as your plants flourish and grow.