Reigning in the Rain – A Wet-Weather Guide to Sustainable Living
Guest post by Hubert Dwight
Now more than ever, we as a population are looking for as many life hacks as we can find to help us on our journey towards more sustainable living.
With some shocking evidence about climate change revealed by scientists in recent times, the hustle towards environmentally friendly living has never been as strong as it is now.
One of the many routes towards sustainable living is by harvesting rainwater and utilising it for your daily activities.
Whether you choose to use a poly tank, a concrete tank or a metal tank, utilising rainwater is one of the best ways we can conserve this precious resource.
In this article, we will look into how you can go about doing so, so read on to find out more!
Understanding Just How Much Rainfall Capacity Your Roof Can Capture
Obviously, it is important for us to know just how much water we will be able to capture, and this is highly dependent on the amount of rainfall in your area as well as the surface area of your roof.
A simple formula you can use to figure this out is
Estimated average annual capture amount (KL) = Roof Area (in m2) x average annual rainfall (in millimeters)/1000.
Alternatively, you can hop online and calculate exactly what sized water tank you will need in order to be not just sustainable, but efficiently sustainable.
Understand Water Sources
When it comes to water sources, the main two contributors will be rainwater and stormwater.
Water collected from your rooftop is considered rainwater, the higher quality of the two.
This is the water that you will want to use for chores such as washing your car and washing clothes.
In fact, you can even use rainwater for cooking and drinking if it is properly maintained.
When it comes to stormwater, this is water that flows over the ground and down pavements – ideal for outdoor usage, garden and in toilets.
On top of these two water sources, many also choose to utilise recycled wastewater.
Recycled wastewater is the water you use to flush toilets, wash your dishes, in the shower and for washing clothes.
Reusing this water will help you save even more when it comes to water bills.
Do keep in mind that this will require you to have separate wastewater tanks and water will need to be treated, filtered and sanitised before you can use it.
This may seem a little inconvenient, but considering more than half of the water you use at home ends up as wastewater, you’ll be taking sustainable living to the next level by utilising it.
Remember That Tanks Require Maintenance
Having a rainwater tank, like any other appliance or vehicle you may have, will need the occasional maintenance check or job.
You can avoid having to do this too often by always ensuring that your gutters are kept clean and by using a first-flush diverter to collect the first flow of rainwater from your roof before it even goes into your tank.
These diverters will assist in significantly reducing the amount of contaminants, dust, pollution and other nasties such as bird droppings from your tank, resulting in you not having to maintain it more than necessary.
Ideally, you’ll want to do a maintenance check at least once a year and ensure that your downpipes are properly set up as this will greatly reduce the build up of any sludge in your tank.
Health and Safety First!
Now, whilst we are all for sustainable living, we are even more focused on ensuring that your health is of top priority.
Do take note that if you live in the city or in an urban area, it is highly recommended that you avoid drinking your rainwater as higher levels of harmful pollution may be present in your water (think of all the cars and how much pollution they emit!).
On the flipside, if you live in an older town/older home that may have lead flashing on the roof, it will be too dangerous for you to consume the water that you collect from the roof.
In these situations, it is best to utilise your rainwater for tasks such as washing the car, in the toilets and anything that does not require high quality water.
Always check with your local council for guidance before consuming any collected rainwater.
We hope that this article has been helpful in giving you some insight into how you can shift towards a more sustainable lifestyle by utilising rainwater tanks.