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The art of Rainwater Harvesting

Rainwater harvesting aqueductCollecting rainwater for specific use is nothing new, as civilizations have been taking advantage of this resource as far back as 850 BC.

Examples of historical rainwater harvesting are documented by the Roman Empire, ancient Egyptians and in deserts and arid climates throughout the world by utilizing man-made cisterns, aqueducts, and underground cashes. But the modernization of society has also led to an increase in pollutants and centralized plumbing has provided a more hygienic potable water source, so rainwater collection has become very rare in most industrialized societies.

Rainwater harvesting in 2011

2011 and 2012 is predicted to be 2 of the driest winter that the Western Cape has seen. With experts at Cape Town International Airport predicting a lower than average winter rainfall pattern, residents of Cape Town are showing heightened interest in collecting rainwater.

Contrary to popular ideas rainwater is actually most efficiently used inside the home and not for garden irrigation. Say one would like to harvest and store winter rainwater for the summer months  one would typically require 8 to 10 time the recommended storage capacity than if one were to use the water for showering, bathing, toilet flushing, laundry, hand basins and dishwashers (Indoor use).

Area’s around Cape Town experience 5 months of rainfall that is above 50mm. It is over this period that garden require little to non irrigation. This is when water tanks are either filling up or stand full and overflow excess water to waste.

Now let’s consider what would happen if one is to pump this rainwater inside the home into the existing water pipes. Everyday day as one washes and flushes toilets the water inside the tank would be drawn down, leaving space inside the tank for the rain to fill back up. Every time it rains the tank would fill back up.

Now you have the perfect rainwater harvesting system, an optimised water saving system.

Speak to your Water Rhapsody dealer to know what your options are.

3 comments to The art of Rainwater Harvesting

  • Is the cost of rain harvesting worth it over a short period

  • This is a very complex question to answer as there is definitely no easy answer.

    What does one compare a rainwater harvesting system with? Bottled water? Municipal water? Tanker water?

    What does a rainwater harvesting system offer? Clean water? Water security? Free water for lifetime? A means to curb flooding? A sustainable lifestyle? A home improvement/investment?

    It might be best to consider one’s attitude when answering this question. Do we stick to the capitalist model of thought when interpreting “short term” or do we view rainwater harvesting as a lifestyle attitude?

    Harvesting rainwater most likely isn’t worth it if one only does it for a month. This is like most things in life. However, should one only choose to view it from a pure financial investment, say over 3 to 5 year, then yes it is worth it. This attitude is however deeply flawed as it is tough to put a price tag on a resource that is vital to life.

  • Mike

    What worries me the most is the fact that we are going through a dry Winter and can probably expect the same next year as well. . . Not good. Oh well, at end of the day only God really knows, our climatologists can really only make educated guesses.

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