The environment is important to you, right? You know that the manner in which you take care of it today determines its integrity for future generations. When you collect rainwater, you have a direct positive impact on the environment that all can see. Rainwater collection obviously reduces municipal water use, but exactly how does this help the environment?
Rainwater collection affects the environment positively in a number of ways.
- Rainwater harvesting it is an alternative (and for many reasons better) water supply to the normal surface water based supplies from reservoirs or groundwater based supplies from wells tapped into underground aquifers.
- Rainwater harvesting helps manage stormwater runoff to prevent erosion, flooding, and poor water quality in our lakes and streams.
- Collectively, rainwater can have a major impact on water supply and has been shown to be able to reduce municipal water demand enough that large new public water sourcing projects become unnecessary. This happened in example for the City of Atlanta, which has a significant water supply challenge despite being blessed with copious rainfall.
- In urban settings, up to 90% of water runs off because of all the hard surfaces like roads, parking lots, and roofs. In nature, up to 90% soaks into the ground. Rainwater systems counteract storm water run off and thereby reduce flooding, erosion, and ground water contamination. When combined with enlightened infiltration designs like rain gardens, a natural state can be regained.
- Keeping the world green has a direct impact on the water cycle, ecosystems, and our ability to maintain balance with our surroundings. We have all heard of the heat island effect that affects weather patterns in large population areas where green spaces have been destroyed. History is full of examples where deforestation and urbanization have totally changed the climates of large landmasses from the deserts on the Iberian Peninsula to parts of the western US. Your lush and verdant oasis made possible by a rainwater collection system does more than just look beautiful, it helps maintain the water cycle.
- Using well water may be better than using city water for things like irrigation but it very directly depletes ground water supply. Taking water out of our lakes, reservoirs, and rivers also affects ground water. On the other hand, irrigating with rainwater helps replenish groundwater supplies.
- Infrastructure projects to increase water supply use massive amounts of energy and natural resources in addition to the obvious cost to taxpayers. Rainwater collection helps minimize the need for these projects.
- Municipal water treatment and pumping make up a high percentage of municipal energy consumption. Rainwater systems reduce this energy usage.