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What is rainwater harvesting?

Posted by Callum Vallance-Poole

Rainwater harvesting, also sometimes known as rainwater recycling, is the collection of rainwater with the purpose of putting it to good use. 

Rainwater that falls freely from the sky can be used for many things. We don’t need to use mains water for everything! In fact, rainwater can actually be better than mains water for certain things. 

Rainwater harvesting is a simple process and typically it involves the following five steps…

Firstly, Rainwater falls onto the roof of a property.

Then rainwater is channelled through the guttering and downpipes into an underground (or sometimes above ground) rainwater tank, via a filter. 

The filter is positioned either in the top of the rainwater tank, or prior to the tank, and the rainwater passes through it before being stored in the tank. The filter cleans the rainwater on its way into the tank and it prevents any leaves, moss or debris from getting into the tank.

The clean rainwater is then stored in the rainwater tank ready to be used.

Finally, the rainwater is then pumped from the underground tank to its point of use. Either an outside tap for garden irrigation or car washing, or to a toilet for flushing, or to a washing machine. 

Rainwater is great for garden irrigation, even better than mains water. It can also be better than mains water for washing machines as rainwater is soft water, which means less build-up of limescale in washing machines. 

It’s ideal for using for flushing toilets because it’s free! It prevents people needing to flush mains water, which is water that they’ve paid for, down the toilet. 

In the UK, it’s also readily available almost every single month! We love our summers and our warm British sun, but let’s face it, we rarely wait a long time between rainfall showers! The good news is that when you put it to use through rainwater harvesting, even if that’s just in the most simple way possible by using a water butt and collecting rainwater for your garden, you’ll have a reason to smile when the rain breaks through every now and then. You’ll realise the benefit first-hand and then as much as you love the sun, you’ll join us in telling people #weloverain.

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