HarvestH2o Online Community

SECTIONS -|- ABOUT US -|- FAQS -|- ARTICLES -|- RESOURCES -|- VENDORS -|- NEWS -|- NEW PRODUCTS -|- SERVICES

NEWSLETTER

PRIVACY: We will not sell, rent or share your name with anyone. see policy

MOST POPULAR

 

RECENT COMMENTS

SERVICES

SITE CONTENT

Article Archives
Books
Company Info
Consulting
Conveyance Systems
Floating Extractors
Gutters
How To Guides
New Products
Non-Water Resources
Pumps
Rainbarrels
RWH Active Catchment
RWH Advanced Info
RWH Basic Info
RWH Calculators
RWH FAQs
RWH Healthcheck
RWH Incentives
RWH New Products
RWH Nonprofits
RWH Passive Catchment
RWH Plumbing Code
RWH Regulations
RWH Research
RWH Resources
RWH Testimonials
RWH Vendors
System Design Services
Tank Calculations
Tank Sizing
Water Audits - Indoor
Water Audits - Outdoor
US Water Standards
Water Books
Water Conservation
Water Films
Water Quality
Water Related News

Article Listing

Is Rainwater Harvesting a Good Investment
Drip Irrigation Basics
Florida Environmental House
Swales and Berms
Use It Twice - Greywater

Rainwater System Component Articles

Gutters
Pumps
Pumps or Pressure Tanks

Pump Sizing

Storage Options

Sample Systems

Free Pumping
Off the Grid

Water Conservation Articles

Tale of Two Cities Rainwater Harvesting in Taos
Water - Why Care
Save Energy, Save Water

Water Quality Articles

Chlorination, Part I
Chlorination, Part II
Importance of pH
Is Rainwater Safe
Potable Rainwater: Filtration and Purification
UV Purification
UV and Carbon Filtration

Water Op Eds:

Climate Change Greenest Roof
Water - Why Care

 


Rainwater: Good water with unlimited uses

by Doug Pushard

For millennia, humans used rainwater for a variety of purposes including drinking, washing and irrigation. Yet these days, rainwater can be highly polluted and not suitable for use. Still, it is one of our purest sources for water and with the right treatment, it has many uses.

When rain falls onto a polluted roadway or roof it becomes contaminated with everything it touches. But before it hits the ground, rainwater is relatively pure. Compared to well water (i.e., groundwater), which is typically very high in minerals, rainwater is cleaner and easier to purify. And unlike the water in lakes and streams (i.e., surface water), rainwater contains no pharmaceuticals, minerals or pollutants.

We drink, flush, bathe, and irrigate with water from wells, streams and lakes and can do the same with rainwater. The planned use of the rainwater determines the type of treatment necessary.

If you are using rainwater in a drip irrigation system, very little treatment is needed: just simple gutter or canale screens and then a 200-mesh filter. The filter prevents the sand and particulates from clogging up the drip heads. Rain is nature’s way of watering plants and your garden will thrive on it. Unlike typical municipal water and well water, rainwater contains no salts or minerals. In fact, rain dilutes salts in our soils that can, over the long term, be very harmful for our landscaping.

Much finer filtration is required to make rainwater suitable for drinking. Along with the canale or downspout screens, a 25-micron filter following by a five or one-micron filter is required. Like lake, stream and pond water, rainwater will contain bacteria. City water is treated with chlorine to address this problem. Small municipal and residential systems typically use either ultraviolet light (UV) or ozone or both to deal with this issue. These two technologies are well-known, used around the world and are not highly expensive.

Rainwater can be used for irrigation without much processing and can be made potable with the appropriate, widely-used technology. In addition, there are other uses for rainwater that can have a meaningful impact on our water use and are worth considering.

Toilet flushing is one such example. Flushing human waste down the toilet is the number one use of clean drinking water in most households. Why use a limited resource for something that literally goes down the drain? Clothes washing is another great use for rainwater.

The water used for flushing toilets and washing clothes doesn’t need to be treated to potable, drinking water standards. Recently released plumbing codes recognize that alternative water sources such as rainwater can be used in both toilets and washing machines with the proper signage and precautions. By implementing these simple applications, a typical household could drop their potable water usage by over a third.

Such savings would greatly reduce your monthly water bill, and help in a variety of other ways. One big, indirect cost saver would be reducing the need for new water treatment plants. In the Santa Fe area, the recent Buckman Regional Water Treatment Plant cost in excess of $220 million, and expanding this plant or building another one is likely to cost much, much more. Delaying this forever, or for as long as possible, would be in all our best interests.

Additionally, by cutting down on our potable water use we reduce the pollution from transporting and treating water. It is estimated that conveying, treating and delivery of potable water consumes about 15-19% of the nation’s power. The Buckman Direct Diversion Project is installing solar panels to reduce this reliance on fossil fuels, but it is still one of the major costs to our local utility.

Rainwater is FREE and although climate changes and changing weather patterns may effect its regularity and intensity it should be part of the solution to our water future. It is cleaner than most other sources and its use is only limited by our imagination.

Links:

TOP

HOME


LATEST ARTICLES

FAQS

How do you harvest rainwater?

Where do you get the water?

What is the best way of harvesting rain?

Why should I harvest rainwater?

Do I need pumps to harvest rainwater?

Can I use drip irrigation or soaker hoses with a rainwater?

How big a yard can I water?

How big are rain barrels?

I want more pressure, how should I raise it?

Can I water my grass with rainwater?

and many more>>

SITE SPONSORS

Xerxes Tanks

RMS

Fun Facts

Favorite Water Books

Taking on Water

A Great Aridness

Drinking Water

Tapped Out


 

ABOUT US -|--FAQS -| -ARTICLES -| -RESOURCES -| - VENDORS |- NEWS-|- NEW PRODUCTS -| SERVICES

Copyright © 1990-2016 HarvestH2o, All Rights Reserved 505-603-5498