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What to do with rainwater

I found this fantastic blog, which tells the story so much better than I could. Of course it relates to another city, in another country, but it’s well worth a read.

Basically, a US study found that if a city captured and used the rain that fell on its rooftops, it could meet the water needs of up to 75% of its population.

The particular problem with unharvested rainwater in urban settings is that the billions of litres that fall or drain onto paved landscapes pick up chemicals and other pollutants which, channeled into the stormwater system, end up being dumped into rivers and dams.

If some of that water were diverted into appropriate human use – up to 80% of domestic water use does not require drinking-water quality – our waterways would be cleaner, and municipal resources would be way better used. And you don’t even need to harvest the water as such – a conscious programme of introducing pocket parks and rooftop gardens, while it would not increase availability of water, would certainly reduce the volume of contaminated run-off.

Future generations are likely to consider that we have been a little mad in our water use. This blog points out that in the US, 270 billion gallons of water are used each week to water 23m acres of lawn at a cost of $40 billion annually. Most of that is drinking-quality water, which uses a fortune of energy to get to that state. A further 11% of household water is used to flush toilets (and that rises to 25% of water delivered to commercial premises).

I really think our city councils and provincial and national governments ought to look into a system of helping ordinary householders, like you and me, replumb in ways that help us help them manage our cities’ all-too-finite water resources into the future.

Source: Eco Worrier

The rainfall pattern around Cape Town may be a bit different but it certainly means that the same principles count for us to. Should we decide to harvest rainwater and use this water inside our home then we’re able to use rainwater throughout the year. If we only harvest rainwater for irrigation chances are we will only use our harvested rainwater but only when the weather heats up again in summer.

My point is, a 1000 litre water tank full of rainwater might be sufficient for watering plants in the first week in summer, but what do you do after that? You now have a empty water tank that remains empty till the rains come back again.

At Aquarista we recommend using greywater for irrigation (water from baths, showers and laundry machines). Our advise is to use rainwater inside your home as this prevents the need to use municipal water. Of course when it doesn’t rain the system automatically switched back to municipal water. Here the point is, rainwater never goes to waste and your tank never overflows. Rainwater simply fills your tank and then feeds your home.

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