Rainwater harvesting is used for a wide range of activities, including watering plants and landscaping, fire protection, watering livestock, and even washing your car. Harvesting systems come in a variety of sizes and complexity, and help conserve the precious commodity of water in locations around the world.\r\n\r\n\r\nWhat is Rainwater Harvesting?\r\nThe simple answer is that rainwater harvesting is exactly what it sounds like. You collect rainwater through a specific harvesting or collection system for use at a later time.\r\n\r\nThe art of rainwater harvesting, though not necessarily referred to as such, dates back to Ancient Rome when wealthier households were designed with atriums that housed impluvium, which were shallow pools sunk into the floor. The purpose of these pools was to collect rainwater in order to augment the city\u2019s water supply.\r\n\r\nIn the U.S., the rainwater is typically harvested from the roof of buildings and stored in tanks designed for this specific purpose. You\u2019re more likely to find rainwater harvesting in U.S. states that have less rainfall or are in a state of drought as this helps to supplement water use throughout dryer seasons. That said, it\u2019s certainly not unheard of in more moderate regions, too.\r\nBenefits of Harvesting Rainwater\r\nToday\u2019s systems may not be quite as artful as those in Ancient Rome, but they offer many of the same benefits. Some of the benefits are environmental in nature, while others actually help to conserve resources and keep costs down. These are a few of the highlights to consider if you\u2019re interested in rainwater harvesting.\r\n\r\nConserve Financial Resources\r\n\r\nCentralized water systems used in many cities throughout the U.S. are costly to maintain and keep clean. Collecting and using rainwater helps to relieve some of the burden on city resources and taxpayer dollars that often supplement these expenses. In turn, it can help lower your water bills from month to month. The more rainwater you harvest and utilize, the more money you may save.\r\n\r\nPeople who have private wells can also reduce their dependence on electricity for things related to powering water pumps by using rainwater for things like:\r\n\r\nFlushing Toilets\r\n\r\nWashing Cars\r\n\r\nWashing Dishes\r\n\r\nLaundry\r\n\r\nWatering Lawns\r\n\r\nThe total savings available depends on the size and scale of your rainwater system along with your willingness to use the rainwater consistently.\r\n\r\nReduces Stormwater System Overload\r\n\r\nStormwater drainage is a consistent problem in countless cities throughout the U.S. Limiting the amount of water flowing into the storm drainage systems greatly reduces the likelihood of flash flooding during storms.\r\n\r\nThe more households in an area that participate in the harvesting of rainwater, the less the burden on drainage systems\u00a0there is.\r\n\r\nPotential Fire Protection\r\n\r\nIn extremely dry areas, harvested rainwater can be instrumental in helping to protect homes and property from fires.\r\n\r\nGardening\r\n\r\nWhether your garden is filled with vegetables, fruits, flowers, greenery, or some combination of all, it needs water in order to keep growing. Rainwater is often used to keep gardens growing throughout the season, but when Mother Nature isn\u2019t cooperating, harvested rainwater provides additional options, rather than relying on local water supplies that are already stretched thin in areas where rainfall has been limited.\r\n\r\nPlanetary Benefit\r\n\r\nRainwater collection is more sustainable than other solutions for collecting and using water. It\u2019s water that nature has provided without the addition of chemical cleaners. Water is one of the most precious resources on the planet, and rainwater collection and harvesting helps to conserve that resource for future generations.\r\nMethods of Rainwater Collection\r\nWhile the Ancient Romans had their systems, most U.S. households are wary of having so much of their homes exposed to the elements throughout the year. Fortunately, we have methods of collecting and storing rainwater that do not require impluvium, like the methods discussed below.\r\n\r\nRain Barrels\r\n\r\nThis is the simplest system of rainwater collection by far. It\u2019s also one of the most economic. The drawback to this system is a relatively small capacity, though it is possible to link multiple rain barrels together creating a larger storage capacity along with fewer opportunities for lost opportunities to collect valuable rainwater.\r\n\r\nThis method involves the installation of a barrel (you can purchase commercial rain barrels or recycle a barrel for this purpose) at a gutter downspout. The water flows directly into the barrel until the barrel is full.\r\n\r\nIf you have tandem rain barrels, the water will continue to flow into the other barrels until all barrels are full.\r\n\r\nAt this point, the excess rain water will overflow.\r\n\r\nThe benefit of rain barrels is that they are inexpensive to install and simple to use. That\u2019s one reason why they are among the most commonly used rainwater collection methods used today.\r\n\r\nDry Systems\r\n\r\nMuch like the rain barrel, the dry system collects rainwater. This system is much larger, though, and is called a dry system because the pipe that allows rainwater to flow into the barrel dries after each storm.\r\n\r\nThis is the ideal choice for areas that have infrequent rainfall, but tend to have fairly substantial amounts when it does occur. It can be an inexpensive option to install and implement. The one downside is that the large storage container must be located next to your home.\r\n\r\nWet Systems\r\n\r\nThis system involves collecting rainwater underground. It allows you to send water from multiple downspouts into underground collection pipes that spill into the tank, which can be stored anywhere on your property. The benefit of this is that it allows for a great deal of water storage. It is, though, one of the most costly and complex of the methods discussed to install.\r\n\r\nRainwater harvesting offers many benefits to homeowners, bill payers, communities, and the planet. Anyone interested in leading a more eco-friendly lifestyle would do well to consider doing this on your property.\r\n\r\nSustainable living is a lifestyle choice that involves several baby steps along the way. This is one more planet-friendly change you can make that will help reduce your carbon footprint one rain barrel at a time.\r\nLink to Us!\r\nIf you found this article useful and shareable, please copy and paste the following into the html code of your website or blog: Learn More About Going Green at the <a href"https:\/\/www.plushbeds.com\/blog\/green\/a-primer-to-rainwater-harvesting\/">PlushBeds Green Living Blog<\/a>.