According to the UN, water is considered a precious commodity and integral resource. It’s only natural to want to discover different methods of more efficient collection methods, to ensure availability and save money at the same time. Capturing rainwater is also a smart and cost-effective solution for helping the environment. Redirecting rainwater helps to ensure it doesn’t become polluted runoff.
If you want to find more sustainable and cost-effective ways of collecting and conserving water, employing a variety of creative but efficient methods of collecting rainwater is one of the best strategies to preserve this vital resource.
There are countless ways to conserve rainwater; here a just a few of the most effective ones!
1. Rain Water Barrels
Building rain barrels to collect rainwater is an effective method of not only saving money but, also, conserving water, as well as contributing to a more sustainable homestead. Conserve run-off rainwater in 55-gallon rain barrels. They can be wooden or plastic.
You can find them at your local hardware or home improvement store. If you have the materials and are handy enough around the house,you can even build a rainwater barrel yourself.
The trick is to position the tanks’ down spouts where the rainwater is funneled and runs off the roof. You can even use the conserved rainwater for your garden by connecting your garden hose to the tank’s valve.
You will find that new rain barrels available at home improvement stores are now equipped to prohibit pesky mosquitoes, animals, and even small children from accessing or tampering with the barrels.
2. Rainwater Collection Systems
In the same vein, rainwater collection systems, also known as rainwater catchment systems, are typically comprised of large underground tanks used for collecting rainwater from the roofs or gutters of homes. From there, the system filters the water, and the purified result (gray water) can be distributed throughout the entire household.
You can use your rainwater collection systems for a variety of tasks around the house that require water, like general garden upkeep, watering the lawn, washing the car, or even showering.
The potential downside to installing these systems in your home is that the system costs can add up if you are not careful, depending on what you want to use the gray water for. The more uses you want the rainwater for, the more likely you will need professional installation. For certain types of systems, you may need a pump/pressure tank to distribute and move the water to its desired location. You may even be able to make the water potable by adding a filtration system.
3. Rainwater Chains
Decorative and functional, rainwater chains are an attractive way to collect rainwater. Normally made from copper or other metals, rainwater chains work as water collection devices through cups that run the length of the chain. Rain chains can be used instead of downspouts and are easy to install. All you need do is remove the downspout and place the hook through the pipe, and then fasten with a tension hook. By placing a collection device such as a decorative barrel, you can collect the rainwater.
4. Rainwater Tarp
The rainwater tarp method is one of the simplest methods you can use to collect rainwater. All you need is a tarp, PVC pipe, and a container or barrel. Essentially, you must detect and use changes in elevation to make the process work. This elevation shift can take the shape of a slope or a small hill. The slope or hill will determine the direction the water will flow through.
Next, you need to create mounds at the edges of the tarp for the water to be collected. This step can be accomplished by shaping the dirt underneath the tarp into a square-shaped mound. You will also need to secure the tarp, which can be accomplished by evenly placing weights, such as rocks, throughout.
Placing the PVC pipe at the corner of the lowest part of the slope toward the collection center will be the next and final step.
It’s that simple!
5. Rainwater Gardens
Rainwater gardens are another effective option that can be used to conserve rainwater. Rainwater gardens typically use run-off rainwater from roofs, gutters, driveways, etc. to not only grow vegetation and flowers but, also, to effectively filter out 90% of chemicals (like pollutants, fertilizers, harmful chemical compounds, garbage, and bacteria, to name just a few) commonly found in runoff.
These types of gardens are also useful and commonly used to curb and prevent flooding as well. Besides having a beautiful-looking garden that’s healthy and watered, you can also enjoy the benefits of minimizing pollution, conserving water, improving overall water quality, and reduce the number of mosquitoes during the summertime.
6. Plastic-Lined Pond
Similarly, a plastic-lined pond is another simple way to collect rainwater. First, you must construct a pond. A good size is 26 feet long by 16 feet wide and at least 5 feet deep, as these dimensions can accommodate most liners. Make sure the hole has elevated edges for better water collection. Then place a plastic pond liner—which costs around $150 at your local hardware store—over the square-shaped hole. The pond is connected via gutters and pipes to an elevated structure such as a house.
7. Install a Cistern to Help Water Your Garden
A 1,000-square-foot roof can capture about 600 gallons of water. Use this water to irrigate your vegetable garden or water your flower beds and lawn. Simply direct the water from the downspout to a cistern. A cistern has been a common storage unit for rainwater collection for centuries, and they are used all over the world. They are typically covered and can be above-ground, partially buried, or underground. The tanks can be constructed from a variety of materials such as metal, plastic, and fiberglass.
8. Green Roof
If you don’t want to worry about barrels, ponds, or other more labor-intensive capture methods, once you prepare your roof this system is the easiest to maintain and use.
Cover your rooftop with a liner and plant garden beds with plants that require little gardening other than water. You will need gutters or some system to get rid of the runoff.
This method has the additional benefit of adding another layer of insulation to your house.
If you want, you can combine this method with one of the others by capturing the runoff in barrels or by one of the other methods listed here.
9. Unconventional Methods
Although not the most conventional of methods, finding household products or inventing/using unique objects to conserve rainwater is always a great idea. Inflatable swimming pools, watering cans, even large pots are all effective in collecting rainwater to use for plants, the lawn, washing the car, or other miscellaneous purposes. Be sure to monitor large items like children’s swimming pools, however, as mosquitoes use stagnant water for breeding.
Check Your State Laws
Every state has different laws regarding rainwater harvesting. Check your local state laws before you begin rainwater conservation.
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