Rainwater Harvesting

Benefits of Rainwater Harvesting

“You can live without oil but you can’t live without water.” … Bobby Markowitz

The benefits of capturing and storing rainwater are many:

Greater water Independence: The most immediate benefit enjoyed by our clients is the independence they gain from owning their own water source.

Reliable water source for Landscape Irrigation:
Stored rainwater is always available for irrigation (and emergencies) even when water restrictions for irrigation are enforced by municipalities. Plants love rainwater and it is the ideal source for irrigation when stored for summer usage. Rain naturally fertilizes plants (with nitrogen and sulfur) while at the same time flushing out harmful salts from the soil. Rainwater does not contain potential toxins and chemicals from water treatment plants or municipal underground pipes.

Domestic Use:
A very effective way to utilize Rainwater, while minimizing storage requirements, is to use sufficiently filtered rainwater for non-potable domestic uses during the rainy season for washing machines, toilet flushing, car washing, hot tubs, etc.

Potential for safe Potability:
Rainwater is a very high quality water source. With proper treatment such as filtration and ultra-violet light, rainwater can attain potable standards. Typically potable water in the U.S. is chlorinated to eliminate potentially harmful microorganisms; however, without chlorination, rainwater can also be brought to potable quality. In the USA and other countries, such as Australia, New Zealand, Israel and India, rainwater is utilized as drinking water. Primarily the rainwater harvesting systems we design provide non-potable water for irrigation and fire protection purposes, however, we are beginning to see more demand for potable water systems.

Decreased water bills & an environmentally sound choice:
Rainwater is a primary source of water. The water in our homes comes from rain. Simply put — rain saturates the ground and replenishes the underground aquifers and rivers. Water is then pumped to municipal treatment plants where it is treated, piped and pumped — sometimes great distances — to our homes. Capturing the pure rainwater that falls on our roofs reduces the need and demand for treated water. By saving and utilizing this free resource, we conserve precious water for our own needs as well as for wildlife, aquatic life and agriculture. Harvesting rainwater greatly minimizes stormwater runoff and harmful effects to the environment. These include erosion, water pollution, sedimentation and costs of infrastructure, maintenance and repair.

Emergency use:
Stored rainwater is always available for emergencies when municipal supplies may not be available or sufficient (in the case of fire or earthquakes).

Capital improvement to property:
Rainwater harvesting systems are considered a valuable capital improvement to property. The return on investment varies from project to project but our clients have found the independence gained from owning their own systems is priceless. For new construction, the cost of the initial rainwater system can be incorporated into the overall project loan.

Cost effective when compared to well drilling or fire supply connections:
Drilling a new well is expensive and often requires multiple tries before finding sufficient water. We are all aware of rising costs of purchasing water. By storing and using cost-free rain, we save energy and reduce water bills.

Rebates offered by many water districts:
Municipal water districts know that rainwater catchment systems can save thousands of gallons water when it is needed most – during the peak demand of the warmer seasons. Check with your water district to determine if rebates are offered for rainwater harvesting.

Several water districts in the SF and Monterey Bay Areas offer rebates when systems are installed for irrigation or non-potable use:

  • East Bay Municipal Utilities District
  • San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
  • Soquel Creek Water District
  • Monterey Peninsula Water Management District

Fire protection:
Jurisdictional requirements vary but having an on-site rainwater supply gives the property owner peace of mind and saves thousands of dollars compared to installing an expensive fire supply connection for the property.
On-site stormwater retention and aquifer recharge (mandated in some districts):

  • Stormwater management: Stormwater management is defined as the method of controlling stormwater runoff for the purposes of reducing erosion, water quality degradation, and flooding. These steps are imperative to reduce the adverse environmental impacts of development on the environment.
  • Aquifer recharge: Many properties contain impervious surfaces such as concrete and asphalt. By keeping rainwater on-site and redirecting rain flow to areas that are permeable such as gardens, it allows rain to percolate into the soil, thereby recharging our ground water supply.

An ancient Indian proverb:

Catch rain where it falls

Rain harvesting is an age old solution — catching rainwater directly from the source and storing it for many different uses. Thanks to today’s modern green movement, our society is acknowledging the importance of having a pure water supply for landscape irrigation and many other uses.

View successful rainwater harvesting projects