Sweet, sweet rainwater

Wouldn't it be great if a multi-purpose, vital and increasingly scarce resource happened to fall on your house every other night...

In the world today, we have a water problem. Every living person needs clean water to drink. We also need water to bathe in, to wash our clothes, dinner plates and homes, and we need huge amounts of water in every industry, to grow food and produce every product we globally enjoy. But because there are so many more of us than there used to be, and because we’re more wasteful, there’s not enough fresh water to go round. 884 million people around the world already go thirsty everyday, and as if that isn’t a crisis enough, drinking water could soon become a scarce commodity for the Western world as well.

Luckily, we can easily lessen our water consumption. I recently read in Inspired Times that as much as 50% of our domestic tap water usage could be saved if we simply used rain water for toilets, washing machines and gardens. That’s such a huge gain for such a surprisingly small effort that I wanted to shout about it.

So, get a rainwater harvesting system as soon as possible. You can get all sorts of state-of-the-art systems which are brilliant. However, if the research and possible cost will hold you back, I’d highly recommend installing any type of basic drain-to-waterbutt set-up.

Keeping things simple...

When it rains, the water that falls on your roof will just be collected in water butts for you to use- for watering the garden or washing your car. More professional (but still simple and affordable) systems are available to link in to your water storage tanks and can be used by appliances inside your house. (E.g. for flushing the toilet and washing clothes).

I think our whole water system is ridiculous to be honest. Why use drinking water for everything? For most water uses rainwater would be totally adequate. Also flushing toilets are incredibly wasteful. I wish composting toilets were the norm everywhere. Even the natural processes of water recycling are disrupted by the fact we have concrete and drains everywhere. Fresh water is lost when it rains heavily inland and the excess water is directed to the sea by pipes…

I digress. What I mean to say is; whenever it rains, instead of thinking about how annoying it is, think about how much free water you can gather!


6 thoughts on “Sweet, sweet rainwater

  1. Hi, I entirely agree. It seems that we treat water in this Country to an incredibly high standard for people then to water their gardens. Industrial processes (such as cement making) don’t need drinking water – they can use grey water. I am working with some Canadians at the moment who are looking at extracting clean water from sludge waste (it is what you think!) but they don’t understand us here in the UK, we process waste water to a standard good enough to throw it away! We need to rethink our water usage…

    • We definitely do. It’s shocking, really. The sad thing is the government will most likely not do anything about it until it’s an acute problem. Thinking ahead is apparently a radical concept in parliament…

  2. Well, if you want to talk about ridiculous, let me introduce you to water laws in the US Southwest. it’s actually illegal to collect rain water here in Denver. Not only that, it’s also illegal to re-use gray water…

    Seriously, There are all sorts of conservation campaigns, but the more water we save, the more tap permits they issue, and the more McMansions they build. It all just makes me want to scream. I actually have an environmentalist friend who says that if you want to do something good for the environment here, you should waste as much water as possible, because it’s the only way to keep them from paving more of the prairie to build more houses. Heavy sigh.

    • Whaaat? I’m shocked. Why would gathering rainwater be illegal? That really is terrible. Do you know for what reason? I mean is it based on any kind of logic at all?

      Thanks for your comments both of you by the way (:

      • Well, water is a very scarce resource out here and the water laws are um… complicated, to say the least. Basically what it boils down to is that you don’t own the water that lands on your own property. There is a shred of logic behind it, and the idea is to ensure that the folks upstream can’t capture and save all of the water, they have to let some run downstream for other people to use. I think it’s the same with the prohibition on the use of gray water. The theory being that if people were free to re-use their gray water it wouldn’t go back into the system to be “purified” and returned to the river where it can flow downstream.

        Unfortunately, the shred of logic in the system gets lost pretty quickly in the realities of how water gets used, We have no restrictions on the amount of water that people can use, so people use ungodly amounts on their lawns, etc. And don’t even get me started on the big money influences that reign supreme.

        If you want to get a sense of the craziness of it all, check out the movie The Milagro Beanfield War

  3. Pingback: Water, water everywhere? | Tim Garratt's Blog


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