Rainwater Harvesting – Pros and Cons Explained
Rainwater harvesting can be a great way of avoiding rising water costs and utilising the scarce resource. However, there is always at least a little bit of cloud to every silver lining and the balance of the positives and negatives should be considered carefully before settling on investing in any such system.
What is Rainwater Harvesting?
Rain water harvesting (RWH) is a technique of collection and storage of rainwater into natural reservoirs or tanks, or the infiltration of surface water into subsurface aquifers (before it is lost as surface runoff). One method of rainwater harvesting is rooftop harvesting.
Advantages of Rainwater Harvesting
- Low-cost Maintenance
Once the system is all up and running, you really don’t need to invest much money in keeping it running. If you intend only to use the collected water for non-drinking purposes, you don’t even need to purify the water.
- Lower Water Bills
Collecting your own water means spending less on the water companies’ water. Water can be used to flush toilets, wash clothes and dishes, and to water gardens. On a bigger scale, rainwater harvesting can lead to major savings for households or small businesses.
- Great for Irrigation
Rainwater is not subjected to any chemicals found in ground water and therefore is ideal for irrigation as well as for watering plants in the garden.
- Reduces Ground Water Demand
As our population increases, so does the demand for water. While South Africa faces droughts more frequently, ground water is extracted to keep up with demand and this has led to low levels of ground water being left over.
Rainwater can be used for all sorts of things from flushing toilets, to washing clothes, cars, and dishes, to keeping the garden freshly watered.
Disadvantages of Rainwater Harvesting
- Unreliable rainfall
Isn’t it just always the case that right when you need something it suddenly isn’t there? Rain is no different, and it can’t be relied upon to fall exactly when it’s needed.
- Start-Up costs
Installing a rainwater harvesting system can be costly, with systems ranging from the low hundreds to the low thousands in cost. Similarly to solar panels, costs can be recovered in 10-15 years depending upon the rainfall and the system’s sophistication.
- High-energy Maintenance
Rainwater harvesting tanks will take a lot of looking after, and even if this doesn’t cost much in terms of money it can become a chore. Systems can be infiltrated by rodents, algae, and insects, and can become breeding grounds for all sorts of creatures if not properly maintained.
- Chemical roof seepage
Some kinds of roof coverings will seep chemicals which will prove harmful to plant life if the water is used to sustain it.
- Storage limits
You may find that you cannot store all of the water you would like to, and this could mean having to tailor your water usage to the capacity of the tank.
If you are looking for an alternative source for clean, purified drinking water, fill out the form below to get in touch with us today!