The benefits of rainwater harvesting are self-evident, yet the practice hasn’t experienced widespread adoption. Some might consider it an ancient practice (it does go way back) while others may not realize the impact it could have on them and the environment, but the potential benefits are substantial. Even on a small scale, collecting rainwater for your garden can make a huge difference in your success as a gardener as well as help your pocketbook.
There are 5 main benefits of rainwater harvesting:
- Conserves water
- Reduces demand on groundwater
- Recharges groundwater
- Reduces your water bill
- Is better for your garden
Here, we’ll go over each of these advantages in depth to understand what they really mean for you and for the environment.
1. Conserve Water
Water is going to be one of the most precious resources on the planet (if it isn’t already) and it’s critical that we use it with care.
More than 2.2 billion people globally do not have access to safe drinking water with any level of reliability. For how important water is to humanity, this is a truly astounding number! While the vast majority of these people live in developing countries, anybody in any country can help address the issue and rainwater harvesting is one of the most effective ways to reduce the amount of water that gets wasted.
Rainwater harvesting is a simple and effective way to reduce your water consumption and conserve resources. When it comes to water, we can’t afford to waste it.
2. Reduces Demand On Groundwater
Groundwater is a vital resource. It is used for drinking water, irrigation, manufacturing, and municipal uses. We can only draw on the groundwater for so long until it’s gone and groundwater reserves are under increasing pressure from development. Demand for freshwater is increasing at an incredible and potentially unsustainable rate, largely due to population growth and increasing use.
Additionally, droughts across the country are further increasing our demands on our groundwater. The draw rate is so high that a major concern for many places in the world is water scarcity.
Rainwater is a great alternative to using water from the municipal water supply. Collected rainwater doesn’t have to be used to replace groundwater entirely, either. It can be used to supplement it, and is a proven way to reduce the drain on groundwater.
3. Recharge Groundwater
Groundwater is stored in aquifers, which are often porous and contain natural fractures. When water flows into these fractures, it moves to other aquifers and is eventually recharged into the surface.
This process is called groundwater recharge and is a natural process. More importantly, it’s essential to sustain groundwater as a vital resource.
Rainwater collection systems have been proven to contribute to recharging groundwater. This is important because doing so is not always easy and can be unpredictable, but harvesting can increase the recharge rate and ultimately even improve the quality of water in aquifers.
4. Reducing Water Bills
It goes without saying, rainwater is free. But how much can collecting rainwater save you?
Between showering, cleaning, and other daily activities, the average person in the US uses around 82 gallons of water a day meaning they can consume up to 29,930 gallons a year! Fortunately, the average home in the US will collect over 32k gallons (check it out on our calculator), helping cut the water bill for the average family of four by over 25%!
Additionally, a rainwater harvesting system is a low-cost, easy to install, and environmentally friendly way to save water. With the cost of water rising, using rainwater to wash your car, clean your driveway, and even flush your toilet saves you money.
5. Better For Your Garden
Many gardeners will tell you that the best way to water your garden is to let the rain do it for you. Rain is unpredictable though, and as the seasons change and the environment becomes drier, rainwater harvesting is a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly way to balance your watering schedule.
And when you have a good-sized garden, you’ll need to find additional ways to conserve water. Some gardens can require as much as 20 gallons of water per day, and harvesting rainwater can help address this demand in a sustainable way.
Plus, rainwater is better for your plants than tap water. Tap water contains minerals and chemicals that can harm your plants such as chlorine, fluoride, and heavy metals.
Ultimately, there are plenty of excellent reasons to collect rainwater, whether you want to have a greener garden, reduce your water bill, or reduce your draw on your local groundwater.