Benefits of Harvesting Rainwater

rainwater harvesting channelWe received less than 1/10th of an inch of rain yesterday – in the midst of “monsoon” season, or, as the weather reporters like to call it “monsoonal moisture.” For once, the phrase made sense!

But that was enough to fill a couple 5-gallon buckets we place strategically under a sloped roof that drains about 1/3 of our roof’s flat surface. From there, I filled the watering can several times to give the birds, herbs and fleurs a small drink. While I don’t track the birds to see how they like rainwater, my rock garden, which I water religiously with the hose, finally sprouted to life after a heavy rain a month or so back.

If the plants can tell the difference, and respond better to rain water than to city water, why do municipalities keep trying to convince us tap water is as good for us as chemical-free bottled water? I’m sure tap water was better for us when it all came from wells that didn’t pass their water through chlorination and fluoridation treatments first.

A landscaper friend, and expert in water harvesting systems, told me of recently installing an elaborate rainwater harvesting system for a local woman. When finished, he declared she had the purest drinking water in town. “Oh, I’m not going to drink it,” she replied. “It’s for washing my hair!”

It softens hair. Farm animals thrive on it. Trees and flowers flourish on it. (The hundreds of gallons of water I sprayed on my garden produced nothing; then one downpour and the dormant seeds finally sprouted!)

Equipment and pipes last longer because rainwater produces no scale. It’s free from pollutants as well as salts, minerals, and other natural and man-made contaminants. Washing requires less soap. Harvesting rain diminishes flooding, erosion, and the flow to storm-water drains. It reduces demand on municipal water supplies.

After collection equipment is installed (for us this is a row of 3-5 gallon buckets we’ve collected roadside or from kitty-litter buying friends), rain is free.

Except for a prayer or two for more of it!

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