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14/01/2009

Saving Water - Harvesting rain water for use at home


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If you live in the UK you can't have failed to notice the water shortages in the South East of the country.

I have always had a method of saving the new gardenwater in the garden, mostly because the houses I have lived in didn't have outside taps, and not because of any environmental beliefs I had. But about 3 years ago I invested in a large water butt. Not your common or garden DIY store special, but a huge 1525 litre Orange juice container purchased from Smiths of the Forest of Dean Ltd,(I paid 90 for mine). I currently have the guttering from the garage feeding the container directly, and I have an overflow returning excess water to the drainage system.

How long to fill up?

When I first installed the container in the new house, back in April, I was a little worried about how long it would take to fill up again. However, much to my amazement after only three periods of heavy rainfall the water container was full again. Since then we have had a huge amount of rainfall and I can't help thinking I need a new container to capture more of this valuable commodity.

Rainwater Harvesting and saving money

This got me thinking about harvesting rain for other uses around the home and garden. I checked the water prices for residential metered water. In the Wessex area they currently charge 1.2876 per unit (1000 litre's) If I was to use a sprinkler in the garden 1 hour every 6 days for say 12 weeks each year I would use 64,000 liters of water. This is based on a sprinkler using 15lt of water a minute. The cost would be 82.40 per year!! So, as I am using harvested rainwater already I have saved in one year enough money on water rates to buy a new water butt.

I then wanted to look at how much water I was loosing by not harvesting any from the roof of the house. In the Wessex area the annual rainfall was running at around 900mm/year, The roof area of our property is 300m2. If you assume you only collect 3/4 of the total that lands on the roof then it should be possible to collect 202,000lt water. Which means I am letting 260 of water go down the drain.

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