Rainwater Harvesting is an ancient practice with a modern-day relevance. As far back as the 3rd century BCE, evidence of rainwater harvesting was recorded in the Middle East, India, and the Indus Valley. Centuries later, the practice has made its way around the world, providing clean and free water for gardens and for human consumption.
Rainwater harvesting is the act of collecting and utilizing rainwater for various purposes. The most common uses are for landscape irrigation, livestock and crop irrigation, drinking, washing and other domestic uses. It’s a simple, effective and cost-efficient way to preserve the environment while still having access to a valuable resource.
For beginners, the simplest and most cost-effective option is to install rain barrels. You’ll need to attach a downspout from your roof to a rain barrel or water-storage container, which will collect the rainwater runoff. From there, simply set up a spigot at the bottom of the barrel with a hose or other such conduit so you can use it.
For more experienced rainwater harvesters, you can create an entire system of collection, storage and distribution. This can include not only rain barrels, but also cisterns, tanks and aquifers. This type of system provides larger yields of rainwater and allows for larger projects such as crop and livestock irrigation or even greywater reuse.
Rainwater harvesting is an important skill to hone and a great way to reduce our reliance on municipal water sources. Furthermore, it has numerous environmental benefits as it reduces erosion, improves water quality and conserves soil moisture. Additionally, it can provide an important backup water supply in case of drought or other such emergency.
Whether you are a beginner or an experienced harvester, rainwater harvesting is an incredibly useful skill-set to have in your tool belt! And with the wide array of methods and tools available, you can find what works best for you and your particular needs.