As is the case with renewable energy, people often wonder if harvesting rainwater will save them money.
Yes, rainwater harvesting will save you money but it likely won’t replace all of your water consumption needs. How much money you can save though depends on a number of factors such as how much rainwater you can collect, how much you can store, and what you plan to use the water for.
Ultimately, collecting rainwater won’t be enough; you should also reduce your water consumption as well. While the economic benefit to harvesting rainwater can be enticing, the primary reason to harvest rainwater is for it’s wide host of environmental benefits.
But let’s address how much rainwater harvesting can actually save you in cold, hard cash. The amount of money you can save will fluctuate by a fairly wide margin depending on these elements.
How much rainwater you can collect
How much rainwater you can collect will be the biggest limiting factor here. You can only collect as much rainwater as it rains where you live. People who live in the deserts of Arizona will likely collect far less rain than people who live in the Pacific Northwest where it rains 10 months of the year. Additionally, the size of your roof factors in significantly to how much you can actually capture. You can find out for yourself with our calculator that explains how to figure out how much rainwater you can collect.
How much you can store.
The second limiting factor will be how much you can store. If you discover that your house can collect 20,000 gallons a year but you only have a single 55 gallon drum that you empty monthly, you’re unlikely to actually collect and use 20,000 gallons. The capacity and size of your system is an important factor that needs to be considered when you begin to setup a system.
How you use your stored rainwater
Finally, how you use your rainwater will matter as well. While 20,000 gallons of rainwater stored is 20,000 gallons of water you didn’t pay for, you may be able to water a garden or lawn with collected rainwater much easier than you will be able to support your daily shower. Additionally, rigging up a clean water system to supply your home will increase the cost of your system far more than an outdoor irrigation system. In fact, in some places you could water your lawn for an entire year from just harvested rainwater.
Now that you understand that your individual case can vary from the average by a significant amount, let’s go ahead and suspend disbelief and calculate theamount of money you can save based on national averages. The amount a person can vary widely depending on these factors but taking national averages into account.
- The US averages 30.21 inches of rainfall a year meaning the average household will be able to collect approximately 28,000 gallons of rainwater a year.
- According to the EPA, the average household in America uses over 300 gallons of water a day which adds up to 109,500 gallons a year.
- Using estimates from Circle of Blue, 300 gallons a day would roughly come to a monthly cost of $52.79 or $633.48 a year for water
28,000 gallons is roughly 25.57% of an average households annual water consumption. In dollars saved, this comes out to an annual water savings of $161.98.
There you have it! If you’re planning to harvest rainwater for a purely dollars and cents perspective, it will likely take a while to recoup the costs of building the type of system that could store every drop that you can collect but the environmental benefits are substantial. And if you’re trying to maximize your savings, look into subsidies for rain barrels as some cities will help you recoup the cost as it helps reduce the load on your municipal water system.