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Aquarista is the leader in Greywater garden irrigation and Rainwater Harvesting systems in South Africa.

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Rainwater vs. recycling water systems

There is a misperception about the differences between rainwater harvesting systems and systems that recycling waste water. There is also a misperception as to the possible end use of water from these systems.

Rainwater harvesting systems use rainwater collected from the roof and should not be confused with systems that recycle treated wastewater or greywater (water from baths, showers and laundry). Rainwater that has touched the ground is generally not collected, as it can be contaminated with leaked automobile fluids, cleaning chemicals, pet droppings, pesticides, fertilizers and dirt.

In climates similar to that of Cape Town, rainwater is best used inside the home, for flushing toilets, showers, baths and laundry. Should rainwater be use for drinking purposes we would possibly recommend a purifications process. Currently legislation allows for rainwater to be used throughout the home, for all purposes.

It is possible to use rainwater for irrigation, however this is not what is advised given the Cape Town climate.  As Cape Town experiences the bulk of its rain over winter, rainwater tanks quickly fill and then overflow for the rest of the rainy period, unless one is able to regularly drain the water in the tank over this rainy period. For precisely this reason Aquarista recommends using rainwater indoors.

Greywater systems treat waste water from baths, shower, and laundry machines, and do not harvested rainwater. The water from these systems are typically used for irrigation. The well designed greywater system does not allow water to be collected in a large tank as the greywater will turn septic and cause potential health hazards.

More comprehensive systems that treat greywater do exist. These systems allow greywater to be stored but are typically only used in commercial or industrial application due to their additional cost.

Should rainwater become mixed with greywater the water must still be treated as greywater.

The combined use of rainwater and greywater in a home can save as much as 90% on water bills.

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