In Alberta, rainfall can vary from extreme dry heat to floods with 150 mm of rain in 48 hours. During the drought times we are conserving water and then in the wet times we are looking for alternatives to store the water. There are many products that designed for both.
Why Harvest Rainwater?
Harvesting rainwater is simple and there are many benefits:
- Rainwater is great for plants and landscaping. There is no added chlorine or water cleaning chemicals. This also allows you to water your lawn and garden during drought times. Using rainwater can reduce your water bill.
- Rainwater is safe to use for cleaning your car or pets.
- A proper storage system can help prevent damage from run off during heavy precipitation.
- Harvesting rainwater is eco-friendly.
A basic rain barrel can be as simple or complicated as you want it to be. The design for all basic rain barrels is the same and then it can be customized. The first step is to ensure that the gutters of the house are clear of debris. Ensure that there is a waterspout or tube that leads the water from the gutters away from the home. The spout would then lead into a barrel to collect the water. This can be a garbage can or a collapsible barrel with volume indicators. For more advanced rain barrels, a spout and motors can be added to the bottom of the barrel in order pour the water from the barrel into a bucket.
A Wet System
This system has a storage bin away from the home. The water is diverted through the drainpipe into a system of pipes that run underground. This water is the pushed into the storage bin and it fills from the bottom up. This is more common on properties with lots of buildings where the water is diverted from all of them.
A bladder tank is normally stored in a crawl space of a home. Instead of using an external barrel, the water is pushed through pipes through the home. It is then stored in a bladder (large bag) to be used at a later time. There are some advantages such as being able to reuse this water inside the house for washing clothes or dishes (when filtered). However, this is not a DYI project and requires professional installation.
There are many easy storage systems, from putting out bowls to using a kiddie pools during a rainstorm. There are some unique storage systems as well. For example, you can build a fence with large PCP style piping, have your rain water from the roof pushed into these pipes and make your fence a place for water storage. Water walls are another way to harvest rainwater.
Water harvesting is something simple that we can all do to help conserve water, reduce our water bill and be more environmentally friendly. Even a simple rain barrel can be designed to be uniquely yours. This summer, it is time to harvest water.
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