Everything You Need To Know About Rainwater Harvesting

A Century’s-Old Practice

Rainwater harvesting has been a practice that’s been used for centuries around the global. Harvesting precipitation at home is gaining popularity in California especially as our awareness of and desire for environmental features increases and our historic drought lingers on. Rainwater collection systems are a fairly simple, sustainable way to collect and store water for landscaping as well as other household uses.

Scientific and technological advances in rainwater collection enables captured rain to be used for a variety of indoor and outdoor residential needs. Rooftop harvesting and underground reservoirs collect and store precipitation to be utilized for heating your home, use in appliances as well as for bathing, cooking and drinking.

How It Works

These high-tech harvesting systems capture precipitation run off from your home’s roof, storing it in a collection tank installed underground either in the garden or beneath a driveway. The run-off goes through a filter that removes leaves and other debris. For sophisticated systems, the water is then run through a sophisticated filtration and purification system, making it suitable for cooking and drinking. Both treated and untreated water can be pumped into the home for various uses. Unpurified water can be used landscaping, heating and any other purpose requiring non-potable water.

Eco-friendly water catchment systems can be installed in both new and existing homes. High-end systems can provide fresh drinking water free of contaminants and chemicals added to city water and many generate energy from solar panels to heat water while minimizing its carbon footprint.

How Much Can You Harvest

For each inch of rain on 1,000 square feet of roof area, approximately 600 gallons of water can be harvested. A 4,000 square foot home in Atherton would be able to harvest 10.37 inches of rain annually. That equals about 24,888 gallons of captured rainwater. Depending upon your regular water consumption, residential rainwater collection can reduce your monthly water bill from 25% to 45% or more.

Learn More About Collecting Rainwater

The American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association (ARCSA) is a great resource for learning more about collection systems and to locate an accredited installation vendor in your area. Local water districts including Santa Clara Valley and Purissima Hills and your local public works or building department are additional assets for sourcing vendors and information about residential rainwater collections systems.