The environmental benefits of rainwater harvesting are many! When you install a rainwater catchment system you are aligning with Mother Earth in a variety of ways:
- Reducing your Draw on Stressed Systems: Aging infrastructure of municipal water systems is expensive to update, and groundwater resources are often overdrawn. When you supply a portion of your own water from the rain that falls on your roof, you reduce your draw on these stressed systems.
- Restoring the Hydrologic Cycle: In a natural landscape, approximately 50% of stormwater infiltrates into the ground, recharging groundwater. About 40% evaporates, and only about 10% becomes runoff. In developed landscapes, by contrast (e.g. our homes!), only 15% is allowed to infiltrate and a whopping 55% leaves the site as runoff! When you collect rainwater for use in your garden, you allow it to infiltrate at a more natural rate, restoring the hydrologic cycle on your site by contributing to groundwater recharge!
- Protecting your Local Watershed: When rainwater infiltrates onsite, it is prevented from entering stormdrains and surface waters as polluted runoff. Left unmitigated, rainwater sheets off hardscapes collecting contaminants along the way. The ultimate damage is to waterways that receive the influx of stormwater, and to the aquatic life that live there.
- Reducing your Carbon Footprint: There is a strong nexus between energy and water in our modern world. In the state of California, 20% of per-capita energy use is dedicated to treating and transporting water! In turn, water is a huge component of cleaning and cooling energy generation facilities. By reducing your reliance on pumped and treated water sources, you are contributing to a collective savings in energy.
Home-scale measures such as collecting rainwater for irrigation help us become more aware of our resource use. You will find yourself tuning into nature’s flows as you observe the rate at which your system fills, empties, and the health of your garden throughout the seasons. There is a sense of wellbeing and invigoration that comes with understanding and living in proportion to the earth’s resources, and in turn, enjoying the garden’s bounty!
Rainwater is high-quality water that is especially great for plants. In fact, it’s the best water for plants! Why? Quite a few reasons!:
1. Rainwater is soft water. Free of the salts, minerals, and chemicals that are found in municipal treated water, groundwater, and surface water, rainwater is pure hydration. Salts and chemicals build up in your soil over time and these residues are tough on plants. This effect is exaggerated in potted plants where the accumulation is more pronounced.
2. Rainwater is slightly acidic—naturally! Green gardeners know that most organically grown plants prefer soil pH levels between 5.5 and 6.5. This is on the acidic side of the neutral pH 7. Irrigate with rainwater and help keep your soil pH in perfect balance!
3. Stored rainwater contains some organic matter. If collected from your rooftop, rainwater contains traces of organic material from contact exposure to leaf litter, pollen, bird droppings and the like (which perhaps not surprisingly are great for your plants). It’s like a light application of fertilizer every time you water!
4. Rain contains nitrates—an important macro-nutrient. Rainwater contains nitrate – the most bio-available form of nitrogen. Nitrogen is one of the three key macro-nutrients that plants need to thrive–necessary for the development of lush foliage. Many forms of nitrogen are not actually absorbable by plants. Nitrates, which are made up of nitrogen and oxygen, are formulated by nature for maximum uptake by your plants. Plants typically absorb most of their nitrates from the soil. And where do those nitrates come from? Rain!
There is tremendous peace of mind in knowing that you have many gallons of water stored and accessible on your site in the case of an emergency. While collected rainwater is not potable without treatment, in an emergency it can be disinfected with a variety of home-scale water purification techniques.
And BlueBarrel can meet your emergency water storage needs! It’s a little known fact that our unique system design includes provisions for emergency water storage. Our flagship product offering, the BlueBarrel Rainwater Catchment System™ is specifically designed to let you hold water in some barrels (should you ever need it in case of emergency), while fully draining others for irrigation.
Save money on water: The cost of water is rising in most regions and this trend is expected to continue. When you meet some of your household needs with rainwater, whether you’re on a municipal water meter or a private well, you will see ongoing cost savings. Metered sites will see a drop in metered consumption, and those using wells will save in energy costs due to reduced pumping.
And speaking of costs savings, many cities and water districts sweeten the pot by offering rebates and incentives. Click here to learn about rebate options in your area!