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Rainwater Management Systems – Taking Advantage of the Weather

Thursday, 21st July 2011 | by: Peter Barry

The United Nations considers the supply of water to be a major ongoing issue for the 21st Century. With global temperatures and the size of the population both on the increase it will become progressively more expensive to meet demand; costs are likely to rise and in extreme case rationing may be necessary.

Within the UK, it is normal to experience rain, at times it is just about all we seem to experience!  However, we have also experienced droughts, especially in the longer, hotter summer months. Government and local councils are regularly rolling out supply preservation programmes such as hosepipes bans, thereby safeguarding supply and reducing over- consumption.

In order to effectively address the issue and reduce your reliance on the mains supply, there are options that you can implement that will not only reduce water bills in the long run, but will also reduce your home’s carbon footprint.

Rainwater management systems collect and re-use rainwater, the process itself is rather simple. A rainwater filter is attached to the roof’s downpipe, as the roof performs its function of diverting water into the guttering and away from its surface, the water that would usually run into the mains drainage, will instead be diverted, collected and stored in a storage tank.

Rainwater-HarvestingThe water running into the tank will be filtered, thereby removing any debris and dirt, it is then pumped via underground pipes into the home and can effectively act as a water supply for the toilet, the washing machine or for watering the garden.

As with all markets, there are a variety of products, however a suitable estimate for a reasonable system with the tank being installed below ground would be in the region of £2,500. Although this may seem like a rather large initial financial commitment, it is a long-term solution and will provide your home with a valuable source of water throughout the year. Furthermore, with the payback period against the cost of installation being in the region of 3 – 4 years depending on the household’s consumption, the user will soon benefit from the savings.

As a product, it is both practical & effective, furthermore, I think it is safe to expect that given normal ‘British weather’ conditions, the tank will likely always be full. The tank itself can take many forms, from small to large, stored below or above ground, with water capacity ranging from 1,000-litres, right up to 13,000 litres.  Any size is effective; however having a larger tank obviously allows the user to stockpile water, and benefit from an uninterrupted supply year round. When installing the rainwater management system a ‘Control unit’ would be need to be installed within the property itself, however these are similar to your average fuse box in size and therefore can be neatly installed in a cupboard or in another discreet place.

When looking at the vast array of sustainable products and solutions on the market, a rainwater management system has instant results with little to no compromise. The rainwater used is filtered, thereby removing debris, ensuring it will not damage clothes when being used via the washing machine, nor will it soil the toilet when used via the cistern. In addition, it will reduce your home’s reliance on mains water, reduce your carbon footprint and benefit the environment.

I am yet to encounter a rainwater management system while on a property survey but I am confident that it is just a matter of time before such sustainable amenities become common place in our homes.