FAQs About Rainwater Harvesting

The recent droughts that have ravaged our country have spurred many people to consider alternative ways to harvest and conserve water. Here are some frequently asked questions about rainwater harvesting:

What is rainwater harvesting?

It is the collection and storage of rainwater by either directly collecting it or capturing and redirecting the run-off of rainfall. For residential purposes, this is usually a very simple process. The water is typically collected from the roofs of buildings. This provides an existing catchment area where water is normally already directed to a certain point by guttering. More intricate water-collection systems have also become popular during the recent drought.

Does rainwater harvesting make a difference to water demand?

A study that has been done on the Liesbeek River Catchment in Cape Town showed that rainwater harvesting could potentially cut the current residential demand for potable water by up to 20%. Furthermore, harvesting and using rainwater aids in reducing residential water bills.

Can you drink water collected from rainfall?

No. While rainwater is generally quite pure, untreated water should not be consumed. Water can easily be contaminated by impurities on the roof or in the pipes used for collecting the water, or when stored for a time. Drinking this water can have serious health risks.

What can you use stormwater for?

Rainwater is perfect to water gardens and lawns, wash your car, flush toilets, and even to fill up your swimming pool. It is just not potable.

Does stormwater harvesting require a special tank?

This depends on the amount of water you will be harvesting and what you want to use it for. Rainwater harvesting could be as simple as catching the water from your gutters in a bucket or tub to use for garden irrigation or you can install a proper tank and pump system to supplement your home water usage (e.g. for toilet flushing).

To find out more about rainwater harvesting and to get a quote on installing your own water-harvesting solution, call Alpha Plumbing.


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