As mains water supplies dwindle, people are looking for alternative sources of water. One of the easiest and best ways to gain extra water is by harvesting your stormwater and rainwater. Not only will you have more water for your home, but you’ll also be helping the environment. Here’s what you need to know.
Harvesting Stormwater and Rainwater Reduces Reliance on Mains Water Supplies
There are good reasons for harvesting stormwater and rainwater, as these sources of water can be used for many purposes, reducing the reliance on main water supplies. This is important as Australia often goes through drought periods, causing water supplies to dwindle and forcing water restrictions to be implemented.
Harvesting Stormwater and Rainwater Reduces Pollution
If stormwater and rainwater is allowed to flow into drains and then into the waterways, chances are that pollutants will end up in our creeks, rivers and oceans. This is because stormwater and rainwater can pick up both gross and dissolved pollutants. These include chemicals, pesticides, detergents, and bulk litter such as paper, drink bottles, plastic, and so on. Not only is this ugly, it can also be incredibly unhealthy and dangerous for creatures that live in or rely on the water that is in our waterways.
Uses for Stormwater and Rainwater
Stormwater and rainwater can be used for the following purposes, amongst others:
- Flushing the toilet
- The washing machine
Unless the water is very highly treated, in most cases, the harvested stormwater or rainwater should not be used for drinking or food preparation.
Stormwater and rainwater can be gathered from rooftops, lawns, paved areas, roads, driveways, and other areas where water cannot be immediately absorbed into the ground. It is then passed into storage containers either above or below ground and treated as appropriate.
Regulations for Stormwater and Rainwater Harvesting
Stormwater and rainwater are very easy to harvest, manage, and store, especially in residential applications. If you intend to harvest stormwater or rainwater for use on your property, it is likely that regulations will apply to you. These regulations will differ state by state but there will be rules on if and how you can harvest stormwater from drains from outside your property (generally you can only capture the stormwater on your own property); if you need a permit for the rainwater or stormwater harvesting; if you need a plumber to do the associated work; and how the water can legally be used (it cannot be harmful to humans or animals, and pollution to ground water or surface water needs to be minimised).