Rainwater harvesting is the collection and storage of rainwater for reuse domestically. Methods of domestic rainwater harvesting include rain barrels, cisterns, and tanks. It has a wide range of as benefits including:
- Significant reduction of water usage – When including outdoor usage, up to 80% of domestic water usage does not require drinkable water and can easy be supplied by rainwater usage. Within the home , rainwater can supply the water for non potable applications such as washing machines, water-hoses, heating & cooling, landscape irrigation, indoor sprinkler systems and toilets. For potable uses such as faucets, showers, baths, and dishwashers, proper treatment applications would also have to be installed.
- Stormwater abatement - In municipalities that have combined sewer systems, reducing storm water runoff is especially important. Excess runoff during heavy rainstorms often leads to the discharge of raw sewage from outfalls when treatment plant capacity cannot handle the combined flow. Installation of a rainwater harvesting system prevents this from occurring, as well as pollution from being carried into local bodies of water. Furthermore, many municipalities offer financial incentives for installation of rainwater harvesting systems.
- Mold prevention – Water entering into the basement because of improper drainage is often times a source of mold problems in the home. Collecting the rainwater is a surefire method of prevention.
- Financial savings – Reduction of domestic water usage through rainwater harvesting, when combined with other water saving measures as well as financial incentives can add up to significant financial savings. Operating costs for these systems are practically negligible, and they pay for themselves relatively quickly.