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What is a Rainwater Harvesting System?

Installing a Rainwater Harvesting System

Rainwater harvesting (RWH) can be a sustainable alternative to a lawn sprinkler system. A rainwater harvesting system collects and stores rainwater that would typically end up in storm drains. Instead, the water is stored in tanks and used later on to water your lawn and garden. Not only will you save money on your water bill, but you will also demand for publicly supplied potable water.

Rainwater harvesting systems vary in sophistication and size. While some commercial tanks can hold up to 25,000 gallons of water, most residential tanks hold less than 100 gallons of water.

How much rain can be collected?

For every inch of rainfall that falls on a one square foot collection area, approximately 0.62 gallons of water is collected.

For example:

If 1” of rain falls over a 500 square foot area, approximately 310 gallons of water will be collected.

If 1” of rain falls over a 2,000 square foot area, about 1,240 gallons of water will be collected.

Components of a RWH System

There are five main parts of a rainwater harvesting system, including:

1. Collection or catchment surface

- In most cases, the collection surface is the roof of a home

- Can be another detached, impervious surface as well

2. Gutters and downspouts

- Transport the water from the roof to the storage tank

- Should be sized to accommodate local rainfall totals

3. Filtration and Sanitation

- Keep leaves, insects, and pollutants from entering the storage tank

- Other filter ensures water is safe for use as it leaves the storage tank

- Water can be chlorinated or sanitized with a UV light

4. Storage Tank(s)

- Can be installed above ground and underground (requires a pump)

- Should be placed close to where the need for water exists

- Tanks can be made of plastic, concrete, metal, or fiberglass

5. Distribution

- Will depend on how far the water must travel

- Can be distributed through a spigot, drip tubing, or a more complex piping system

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About the Author

ProMatcher Staff, ProMatcher
Orlando, FL 32803

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