Collecting rainwater can seem like a natural, simple and easy thing to do for its use around our homes and gardens. After all, what can be more natural, and it does seem so much more friendly towards the environment than using processed tap water. However, using rainwater does have many major issues of health, cost and legality surrounding it which cannot be ignored by anyone considering its use in lawn care practices.
Rainwater harvesting usually involves the collection of rainwater from house roofs and other similar structures which directs the falling rain into a rainwater collection tank.
The main issues surrounding the collection of rainwater in this manner is that through long periods of non-rainfall, a collection of pollutants collect on roofs in this time such as, dust, dirt, leaves and bird droppings. Further pollution from the environment can also come down in the rainfall itself such as Mercury and Arsenic.
These pollutants are then washed straight into the rainwater storage tank creating an unclean water source which is often teeming with bacteria. It's not difficult to see that all these pollutants and bacteria in our rainwater can cause real health problems for people and pets if it were to be used as drinking water.
The larger organic matter such as leaves and twigs will also decompose inside the water tank, as well as causing blockages in any pipes which the water tank feeds.
If rainwater tanks are not sealed properly they can also become host to animals and insects such as frogs and mosquitoes, and the resultant contaminants they bring as well.
Many very clever, cheap and simple devices have been invented to substantially overcome many of these problems. They all usually consist of a system of primary filtering for larger objects, which is then followed by a temporary collection bucket which collects all the early runoff from roofs first. Once this bucket is filled with the water containing the majority of contaminants, it's weight then opens a valve allowing all other water to run straight into the collection device or rainwater tank.
These simple systems really do provide a wonderful improvement in rainwater harvesting, and while they do remove the majority of contaminants, it is never 100% effective.
The rainwater collected can now be easily used for gardening and many washing purposes.
For anyone wishing to use the rainwater for drinking purposes for humans or pets, the water will need to be properly filtered first. There are many systems available for purchase for this purpose, and it is strongly recommended by all health authorities that these water filtration systems be used.
Check State Laws First
The use of collected rain water will be governed by different State Laws and other local Statutes wherever we may live. In some areas it may even be illegal to collect it in the first place as it is regarded as stopping watering entering rivers and streams which has been allocated to farmers. It is extremely important that all Laws in your State be strongly adhered to for both legal and health reasons.