Rain Water Harvesting: Every Drop Matters
Many of us collect rainwater. It’s a great way to be eco friendly and save money. The rain we harvest falls freely from the sky onto roofs, and is typically collected in water butts, with the average water butt collecting about 200 litres of water. A rainwater harvesting system can collect and store much more.
Rain Water Harvesting System
So, what is a rainwater harvesting system (RHS)? Unlike a water butt connected to drain down pipes, a rainwater harvesting system is plumbed into your home’s existing pipe work. The collected rainwater can then be used for flushing your toilet, washing your clothes in the washing machine as well as watering your garden. The Rainwater Harvesting Association have said that by using an RHS we could decrease our water consumption by as much as 40%, and by switching to a water meter you could reduce your water bill too. The tanks on a water harvesting system can collect and store about 6,500 litres of clean water.
Other Water Collecting Systems
A Graf system is recommended if you want to use the water in your house, says Phil Barnard, a rainwater harvesting system supplier from Chandlers Building Supplies. He says:
“The tank has a self-cleaning filter that you only need to check on it once a year. It costs about £2,500 for a 2,700-litre tank, and a buried tank isn’t affected by heat change or light, so the water doesn’t go green and smelly.”
You can expect to pay under £1,000 for installation by a plumber or builder. The size of the tank depends on what you will be using the rainwater for and the volume of rainfall you typically get. You will need to pump the water from the tank into your home, costing around 10p a week based on a three-bedroom house.
Another way of harvesting rainwater is installing the Ifore, which is gravity-fed and installed in the loft. The system collects water direct from the roof and does not require electricity to operate. The Ifore rainwater harvesting system costs around £1,700 to buy and install. The Ifore has limited water space compared to other systems, holding a total of 455 litres, so if it doesn’t rain for long periods you will have to rely on your home’s mains water system. This will automatically kick in if the tank dries out.
Greywater is the water that come out of your washing machine, dishwasher and your bowl of washing up water. The water can be collected under your kitchen sink and used to flush the toilet, wash the car and water the garden. It is thought that around a third of the water used in households is used to flush the toilet, so using greywater to flush your loo and for other domestic uses can save 70 litres of water per person per day. Recycling greywater is a very straightforward and inexpensive way of collecting and reusing water, as well being eco-friendly.