As global freshwater supplies continue to decrease, clean drinking water is at the brink of depletion. Until we find an economically viable and environment-friendly way of cleaning and converting seawater into drinking water, we will have to look elsewhere for an answer to our dilemma. To tackle this issue, in the past decades up until now, there have been many efforts to utilize and harness one renewable resource available to us at all times—rainwater.
With rainwater, we are provided with a naturally occurring water supply perfect for plants in small farms or home gardens. With rainwater, we are provided with a naturally occurring water supply that can be used for small businesses and chores around the household. And with rainwater, we are provided with a near-limitless drinking water supply—granted, additional equipment will be needed to purify the rainwater. As such, many households in urban and suburban areas are investing in slimline rainwater tanks, among many other rainwater tank types, to collect and store rainwater for their drinking and greywater needs.
In this post, let’s take a look at how rainwater benefits the home and the environment.
Rainwater is great for the laundry
The average US family consumes more than 1,100 liters of water at home per day, which means an average of more than 400,000 liters of water is consumed annually. Using the washing machine to do the laundry is the worst water waster of all chores, expending more than 20,000 liters every year (for a family of 4) of what otherwise could have been clean drinking water. Instead of wasting clean drinking water on washing clothes, why not wash them the old-fashioned way with rainwater?
Rainwater is perfectly safe for laundry, as rainwater is considered soft water. Soft water is naturally acidic, sitting at around 5.6 in the pH scale. Unlike municipal water supplies, which is hard water and are oftentimes harvested from reservoirs of drilled wells, soft water does not contain any trace amounts of dissolved minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, and manganese, among others. Since soap is exceptionally hard to dissolve in hard water, these minerals in the hard water leave scum in the washbasin that sticks to clothing, which leads to more wasted water in an effort to wash off the soap.
Additionally, rainwater has ions like sodium and potassium that make it easy to dissolve soap and lift sediments and excess soap from previous washes stuck to the clothes. The washing process is also greatly hastened when clothes are soaked in rainwater overnight as rainwater loosens these sediments, which means little effort is needed to wash clothes.
For a household chore that wastes a lot of clean water, the laundry can benefit much from rainwater.
Natural rainwater for gardens
Generally speaking, the chlorine and the fluorine used to treat municipal water to make reservoir water safe for drinking may not be beneficial to plants. As fluorine is one of the chemicals used to treat municipal water, the fluorine can easily bond with the metal in the pipes to create fluoride. In natural water sources, the amount of fluoride is diluted or low enough that it is ineffectual to plant health. However, studies have shown that some plant species, especially indoor plants, are susceptible to a condition called fluoride toxicity when watered by tap water. Fluoride toxicity is present when significant damage and dead areas are noticed around the rim of a plant’s leaves, damaging plant tissue and turning the leaves yellow or brown and dry and brittle. One way to combat any chemical toxicity in plants is by watering them with rainwater.
Have you noticed that plants look healthier and greener after a rainfall? It has everything to do with the nitrogen-rich atmosphere. Nitrogen benefits plants as plants need nitrogen to produce chlorophyll—the green photosynthetic pigment found in plants—vital in photosynthesis, the process in which plants turn sunlight (or any source of light, for that matter) into energy. Without nitrogen, plants get sick and, consequently, die. However, plants cannot absorb nitrogen from the air as it takes a lot of energy for plants to turn nitrogen into a usable form. Instead, plants take nitrogen from rainwater, among other sources like fertilizers.
For small farms or DIY gardeners, storing and using rainwater can benefit their plants’ health.
Why invest in a slimline rainwater tank?
If you aim to be independent of water interruptions, be self-sufficient in droughts, and help save precious drinking water, look nowhere else than rainwater harvesting. For properties where surface area is a premium, a slimline rainwater tank makes for easy rainwater harvesting and storage. Designed to be as sleek and streamlined to a house’s design as possible, a homeowner could install a slimline rainwater tank directly beneath a house’s rain gutters, which means the rainwater is collected and then immediately stored into the tank structure. This design means very few equipment are needed for the rainwater to travel from the roof to the tank, which means few filters and screens are needed to keep debris away. (However, this does not mean the pipes and gutters should not be installed with filters and screens.)
Depending on how the rainwater is used, the tank then could be connected for indoor or outdoor use. Tools as simple as intake manifolds and hoses could be connected to the tank so the rainwater could be used for household chores like washing clothes or watering gardens. Equipment as complex as pumps, microfilters, and reverse-osmosis units could also be connected to purify the rainwater for drinking. The one-time investment in a slimline rainwater tank eventually pays for itself in the water costs you do not have to pay and the drinking water you save.
In today’s environment, there is nothing more important than conserving clean water. Investing in slimline rainwater will not only make a household self-sufficient but will further our efforts to save the planet.