Hi there! If you’re a gardener, then you might have seen a rise in your water bill during the months of summer gardening. In such a situation, one is forced to choose between their garden and water bill. However, rainwater harvesting for gardening can reduce your bills during the time of the rainy season. Also, it will offset the costs set during dry months.
Yes, it does make sense for collecting and saving rainwater to use in the garden. The reason is that our ancestors also used to perform this common practice. Rainwater harvesting can be simple, like a downspout flowing into a spigot-outfitted barrel. Let’s see how you can do this and save your money in terms of water bills.
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How to do rainwater harvesting?
When it comes to rainwater harvesting, can be described as the process in which rainwater is collected and stored for future usage. It is a sustainable method that can aid in conserving water resources. You can do the same by following this guide for rainwater harvesting:
1) Assess the feasibility
Before starting with rainwater harvesting, it would be better to evaluate the rainfall pattern, local climate, and your location. Make sure there are no such legal regulations or restrictions related to rainwater harvesting in your area.
2) Calculate water requirements
It’s time to assess your water requirement by determining the rainwater harvesting system capacity. Don’t forget to consider the factor you’re going to use this collected water but in this case, it is garden irrigation.
3) Select collection surfaces
Now, look for a suitable surface where you can collect rainwater, like paved areas, rooftops, etc. Ensure that such surfaces are clean enough and free from any kind of contaminants that might affect the harvested rainwater quality.
4) Install gutters and downspouts
It is better to direct the rainwater flow from the surface used for collection to a storage system. As a next step, install downspouts and gutters to channel the rainwater. Make sure they are sloped properly for facilitating a smoother flow of water.
5) Filter debris
At the entry point of your storage system, just install a mesh filter or first-flush diverter. This will aid you in removing debris carried by the rainwater like twigs and leaves. Thus, such things can be prevented from hitting the storage tank.
6) Choose a storage system
You can store the rainwater in underground cisterns or tanks. According to the average rainfall in your area and water requirements, you can determine the storage capacity. Make sure that the storage system is sealed properly to prevent any kind of contamination.
7) Install an overflow system
It is preferred to set up an overflow system because, at the time when the storage tank hits its capacity, you can divert the excess rainwater. You can easily do this by directing it towards a recharge pit or connecting it to a stormwater drain.
8) Ensure water quality
You can improve the quality of your harvested rainwater by installing additional filtration systems such as disinfection mechanisms, mesh filters, and sediment filters. If you want pure water for your plants, then you can follow this step.
9) Regular maintenance
To prevent any kind of contaminants, algae, or sediment buildup, it would be better to clean and maintain your rainwater harvesting system daily. Periodically, inspect your gutters, storage tanks, and filters to ensure they are properly functioning.
Ways to harvest rainwater
1) Rain Barrels
Among the most common method for rainwater harvesting, rain barrels are the simple ones. You can do this by placing a rain barrel at a location near your gutter or downspout system. Make sure that your barrel comes with a tight-fitting lid for preventing the entry of mosquitoes, insects, or debris.
You can reduce the water flow into the barrel by attaching a downspout diverter. Even you can use a tap or spigot near the barrel’s bottom for accessing the collected water. If you want to enhance water pressure then it is best to elevate your barrel by placing it on a stand. For capturing excess water, you can connect a range of barrels with an overflow system.
2) Rainwater Harvesting Systems
This one might sound a little bit complex but with this, you can expect a larger storage capacity. In this, install a system including downspouts, gutters, and a filter for collecting rainwater from the roof. You can use pipes for transporting the rainwater to a cistern or an underground storage tank.
Make sure that the storage tank is manufactured from materials such as concrete or plastic, which has a secure lid. You can divert excess water away from the tank by using an overflow mechanism. If you want to distribute the collected water to the garden, then you can install a gravity-based or pump system as per requirement. By installing a purification or filter system you use that water for irrigation.
3) Roof-Mounted Rainwater Harvesting
This kind of method comprises modifying the roof to collect rainwater. You replace materials of traditional roofing with materials meant for rainwater harvesting, like tile. Channel your water into a cistern or storage tank by installing downspouts and gutters.
Try to use a debris filter for preventing debris to enter the tank. You can redirect the initial dirty rainwater by adding a first-flush diverter. With this, you can improve the collected water quality. For your garden irrigation, you can connect the storage tank to a gravity-based distribution system.
4) Rain Gardens
Rain gardens are mainly designed for capturing and retaining rainwater. This will allow you to infiltrate the ground. For this, identify a low-lying area present in your garden where the water can accumulate easily. It’s time to dig a shallow depression and according to your desired design just shape it.
You can incorporate a mix of grasses and native plants that suits the wet conditions. You can improve water retention and soil quality by adding a layer of mulch and compost. As the rain garden starts capturing rainwater, it will allow for slowly infiltrating into the ground and then replenish the water table.
Now, it is clear that rainwater collection for gardening can aid in reducing your water bills. All you have to do just implement the mentioned rainwater harvesting methods. With this, you can turn your gardening practices into sustainable ones. Also, your reliance on freshwater sources can be reduced.