Monday, April 17, 2017 by Tracey Watson
With more and more people choosing to live “off the grid” and be as self-sufficient as possible, rainwater harvesting systems have become increasingly popular. While having such a system professionally installed can prove costly, creating your own DIY system can be inexpensive and easy, and will start saving you money on your monthly water bill right away. You will also have the added bonus of being less reliant on municipal water, which can be a real bonus, especially in times of drought or water restrictions. (RELATED: Find more tips at OffGridLiving.news.)
It’s surprising just how much water you can collect. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation notes that a well set-up rainwater harvesting system can capture as much as 80 percent of the rainwater that falls on your catchment area (generally your roof), though the other 20 percent will be lost to leaks and overflows or even absorption by roof materials.
Getting your rainwater collection system set up requires only five things:
The simple steps to getting your water harvesting system set up are as follows:
There are some important things to consider when it comes to rainwater harvesting systems.
A wise first step would be to confirm what your state’s legislation is regarding these systems, since rules and restrictions differ from state to state. While certain states encourage the collection of rainwater, with some like Rhode Island, Texas and Virginia even offering tax credits on the purchase of rainwater collection equipment, other states, particularly those out west where water is scarce, have complicated water collection legislation. The National Conference of State Legislatures published a comprehensive list of state rainwater harvesting laws in November 2016, available online.
It should also be noted that the type of material from which your roof is constructed can affect the quality and quantity of water you can collect. Some roof materials, like concrete or clay tiles, wooden shingles or asbestos shingles are very absorbent, which will limit how much water you can collect. Roofing materials may also be contaminated with pesticides or heavy metals, which would make the water collected unsafe for drinking or for watering your fruits and veggies.
You might also want to consider filtering or disinfecting the water in your storage tank, particularly if you plan to drink it.
And finally, it is a good idea to drain and store your storage tanks in a barn or garage in the fall, to prevent them cracking or freezing in winter.
(Photo credit: Old World Garden Farms)
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