The Earth’s surface is covered with water on 71% of its surface.

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Water moves continuously through the water cycle as a vapour through evaporation and transpiration, then as water through condensation in the atmosphere, and as rain (precipitation) once condensed returns to earth.

The rainwater is a pure form of water and is an important source of freshwater for humans and other life forms. Harvesting rainwater is an option that you can consider if you need fresh water for farming, consumption, washing, or other purposes. Rainwater harvesting systems capture rainwater in a variety of ways.

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System for harvesting rainwater

Water harvesting systems consist of a surface area used to collect rainwater (normally roofs and gutters), pipes, screens, and storage areas such as rainwater tanks.

The rainwater harvesting system should be maintained properly, especially if you use the water for cooking and drinking, and all materials should be safe for food contact. To remove impurities and neutralise harmful bacteria and parasites, it is also highly recommended that you use proper filtration and chlorination in bathrooms.

Harvesting rainwater has many benefits

Harvesting rainwater has many benefits. The rainwater can also be used for flushing toilets, washing clothes, watering gardens, washing cars and topping up swimming pools, provided your system is properly maintained.

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Rural residents, as well as farmers who need water for agriculture, often depend on rainwater as a source of water. If mains water is inaccessible, or if other water sources become scarce during dry periods, then it may be necessary to purchase and transport water.

You can therefore reap several benefits by harvesting your own rainwater:

  • A new home in Australia is often required to meet environmental efficiency targets, such as BASIX in NSW. These regulations are often easily met with rainwater tanks.
  • You do not have to pay to use rainwater once you install a rainwater harvesting system, just like you do when you use mains water. If you live on a rural property where water must be trucked in, this will reduce your bills.
  • You could largely be independent from your mains water supply since you collect your own water supply. You only use your mains water supply for topping up. Moreover, you will be able to use more water during times of water restrictions.
  • As areas become more developed, less water seeps into the ground, causing drainage problems and flooding. One solution to this problem is the use of rainwater tanks. Some councils will actually require you to keep water in your tank during storms in certain areas.
  • You will likely have to retain a certain amount of rainwater if you live in a bushfire-prone area. Water stored in your rainwater tank or pool can serve as a safe haven in the event that mains electricity is destroyed by fire.
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Systems in the underground

It may be necessary to dig an excavation for the installation of an underground rainwater harvesting system, especially if there is a limited amount of space on the ground. It is more aesthetic and versatile for larger properties and landscapes to use a pump to force water out of a tank.