A rainwater harvesting system can ensure that you always have water available, even if there is an interruption to your city-supplied water. The rainwater you collect can also be used for watering the garden, saving you money on your water bill.
There is a variety of rainwater tanks available, from those that are thousands of litres in size, to those that are very slim and that fit snugly against the home or garage, so they're very unobtrusive. If you're thinking about a rainwater harvesting system for your property, no matter its size, note a few questions about these systems so you know if they're a good choice for your home.
Can a garden be watered with water harvested from the roof?
As raindrops fall through the air, they will pick up dust, soot, chemicals, and air pollution. This makes rainwater somewhat unhealthy for drinking, as those particles can be difficult for the human body to filter out properly.
However, the water that lands on your home's roof is no different than the water that would naturally land on your garden. Vegetation doesn't absorb those impurities as easily as the human body, as the soil itself acts as a filter for many of those pollutants. Unless you live in an area that suffers heavy smog and other such pollution, the water you collect from a roof should be perfectly safe to use for the garden and lawn, without added filtering.
Can a homeowner use makeshift rainwater tanks?
You can certainly store rainwater in just about any type of container, but this doesn't mean that a makeshift container is going to be as good as a true rainwater tank. Consider that water is very heavy, so you won't be able to easily move your makeshift tank from one area of your property to another; a rainwater tank will usually have a pump at the top, or a type of nozzle at the bottom, to which you can attach a hose, for easy collection of the water.
Rainwater tanks will also be made of a certain type of plastic, or will have a special liner, that helps to reduce the risk of algae forming. Many rainwater tanks are also a lighter colour so that the water stays cooler, which also reduces the risk of algae and other contaminants forming. For these reasons, it can be good to simply invest in a true rainwater tank for your water harvesting system.