Last weekend I had the pleasure of looking out the window to endless hours of rain. It dawned on me that each house in my estate was failing to take advantage of the potential savings to be made from the water falling from the sky. Out of shear boredom I decided to collect the rainwater in an old oil drum and then a few days later use this water to water the flower beds in the garden with a jerry can. Although it was unnecessary as the garden was saturated from the previous few days of rain, I carried out the task in order to evaluate the practicality of collecting rain water in order to utilise it for mundane water consuming tasks, such as watering the flowers. Not to my surprise, there were ample amounts of water for the plants and even a bit to spare.
This set me thinking of how feasible would it be to construct a water collecting unit in my back garden (possibly on the shed roof to take advantage of the forces of gravity), to which one could attach a hose pipe (I believe jerry cans to be a bit out dated) and hey presto you have a free water source. This may seem totally irrelevant at present but when water meters are introduced, and money is leaking from that external back garden tap then we will see the method in the madness.
The idea of collecting rainwater in order to use for mundane tasks extends beyond your mother’s flower bed (or even your own). There is no reason why rainwater can’t be used to wash a car, fill a water balloon or even clean the decking. It is evident that more sustainable methods of consumption (in this case for water consumption) exist all around us, it just requires a little ingenuity and innovation to realise a more practical and sustainable way of life.
When I eventually got around to researching “rain harvesting”, as it turned out to be called, I discovered that there already exists numerous companies providing such services (below are links to some of their websites). However, such companies appear to be under the radar with regards to public interests. No doubt this will change with some clever marketing post the introduction of water meters to Irish households in the near future.
To give some gravitas to my argument, the following quote taken from the Irish Water Treatment Association’s website, highlights, in my view, the necessity and complete feasibility of rain harvesting in Ireland;
‘Much of the water we use doesn't need to be of drinking quality. In fact studies show that 55 per cent of domestic treated water could be substituted for rainwater while 85 per cent of water used for commerce and industry does not need to be of drinking standard’.
It makes all the sense in the world, right? Even the ancients were at it!
Some rain harvesting companies: