(and How to Do It)
Rain, rain, go away? Don’t be so quick to reject the water falling from the sky. Turns out harvesting rainwater is an ancient practice with loads of modern-day benefits. Here’s the lowdown on the practice, and how to put the rain that falls on your home to good use.
What Is Rainwater Harvesting?
Quite simply, rainwater harvesting is the practice of collecting and storing rainwater (typically from the roof of a home or building) for later use. Rainwater harvesting systems range from the very simple—a rain barrel placed under the downspout of a building’s gutters—to more complex options that plug into a building’s plumbing system. The practice is popular across a wide range of demographics, from rural gardeners to people living in urban centers.
Even though rainwater harvesting has been practiced for thousands of years, it’s only beginning to inspire the formation of an organized industry. In recent decades the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association, which promotes sustainable rainwater practices as a means of solving water and energy challenges throughout the world, has emerged as an industry leader. Despite its influence, there are currently no national standards regulating the collection and use of rainwater, although many states and municipalities have instated laws around its use.