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How to Harvest Your Rainwater

How to Harvest Your Rainwater

For many centuries, cultures living in arid lands have known how to gather precious rainwater. There is a 2 million-gallon rainwater-runoff cistern beneath the old temple of Jerusalem, for instance, and a similar cistern under an old church in Oaxaca, Mexico. But even if you live in a relatively moist area, water is precious.

Whenever it rains, water falls on rooftops, is guided into gutters, and is quickly sent into sewers to be combined with human and industrial waste and “taken away” at great expense. But it’s great to know that rainwater can be diverted for home use before it is lost along with domestic waste.

Find out why it’s a great idea to harvest your rainwater, and how to do it, here:

Rainwater is soft and pure and requires no treatment; rainwater recovery works well even in drought-prone areas and can often reduce your water bills. In addition, water-supply and storm water drains become unnecessary. In fire-prone areas, you might even position big containers at a height that can gravity-feed a hose, thereby reducing your fire-insurance premiums.

You can harvest your rainwater by installing cistern tanks that collect it. This pure water can be used for landscape watering (and for houseplants, too). You might also install simple rainwater “buckets” to collect rainwater from gutters for watering.

If you have a collecting (or “catchment”) area of 1,000 square feet, with an average annual rainfall of 20 inches, you have the potential to collect 24,000 gallons of water a year!

Read more: Home, Household Hints

Adapted from Green Remodeling, by David Johnston and Kim Master (New Society Publishers, 2004). Copyright (c) 2004 by David Johnston and Kim Master. Reprinted by permission of New Society Publishers.
Adapted from Green Remodeling, by David Johnston and Kim Master (New Society Publishers, 2004).

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

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8:41AM PDT on Jun 18, 2012

Thank you

12:42AM PDT on Aug 13, 2011

If you don't have a lot of money to build a rainwater collection & storage system, you can still do quite a lot. Rain barrels or even trash cans with well-fitting lids can store water. The easy, but slightly more costly way (cost of piping) is to attach them to gutter downspouts. The cheaper way is to put out any containers you have to catch the rain on your patio, balcony, parking space, whatever & then pour the water into the rain barrels. If you're going for the cheap option then any waterproof container will do: cooking pots, bowls, empty plastic containers such as buckets, trash cans, etc.

The great thing is that rain water is FREE. All it takes is a little time and effort & your bills can shrink. Rain water can be used for just about everything other than drinking and bathing humans. Watering plants. Filling toilet cisterns. Wash the car, patio, windows, dogs, cats (if you can catch them)...

1:56PM PDT on Jul 6, 2011

Thank you

1:20PM PDT on May 2, 2011

Bente S.
I collect rainwater and for years, it has been our only source of clean water, yes, i do filter it.
My system is of my own design, a trash filter, a KDF, a 1/2 micron ceramic, UV bombardment, ozone, ozone removal. Complicated, No, difficult to maintain, NO, do we realize savings, Yes.
The system removes heavy metals, pesticides, etc, we realize a much higher water quality than any bottled water.
Since your already at your computer Google, RainWater Harvesting. Don't forget to look at cisterns, the water has to go somewhere.
You can see some pretty amazing results, we get through months of no rain and still have water to spare.
While you still at your computer, Google Greywater, it is easy and you will save a lot of water in the process.
2 books come to mind:
RainWater Harvesting for Drylands by Brad Lancaster
His techniques work nearly anywhere.
Create an Oasis with GreyWater by Art Ludwig, Peter
Abercrombie and Michele Howard
GreyWater made simply
Best of Luck to you!

5:05AM PDT on Apr 10, 2011

Rainwater is not always so pure. Pollution can be carried in raindrops. It should not be drunk without being rinsed.

3:58AM PDT on Mar 25, 2011

good to know

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