Water wisdom is as ancient as civilisation. The Romans built huge underground water cisterns and aqueducts. The San bushmen in the Kalahari desert filled ostrich eggs with water during the rainy season and buried them. That was a lifeline for the hot and arid months. It was more a survival technique than the type of forward thinking that has been practiced here in the UK where survival tends to relate to winter flood defences rather than summer drought in the main. Rainwater harvesting goes some way to alleviating the worst of both scenarios.
Water Management For The UK
Water butts have long been a very common, traditional and simple rainwater harvesting method used mainly for summer garden irrigation. Although better than no harvesting at all, they usually suffer from lack of filtration resulting in a build-up of sediment and smelly water. Climate change awareness, water charges, and general environmental education have driven an expanding movement of individuals and businesses to take rainwater harvesting to a more effective level. It is easy to do with little technology involved and delivers demonstrable and measurable results in alleviating stormwater runoff whilst also reducing our water bills.#
Saving During The Rainy Day
Rainwater harvesters turn the rainy day analogy on its head and save for the arid times. Storage tanks provide a large capacity for relatively little cost and can be sited above ground, underground, in basements and so on – wherever is most effective and suits the layout of a building or site. The volume of stored water is dictated by size of building and local rainfall data, and can often be easily tailored to the usage profile of the business or home. Summer brings water shortages and hosepipe bans but those with the foresight to harvest rainwater are far less affected.
Storm Flooding Attenuation
Storing harvested rainwater is not the only benefit enjoyed by forward thinkers. In recent years, DEFRA’s flood prevention measures have included attempts to minimise the sheer volume of water that winter storms can release into our rivers and waterways. Many recent flooding events have been caused because of environmental changes many miles away, on high ground, where the ecology has been changed through farming or forestry activities or new developments leading to more hard surfaces. It has highlighted the importance of reducing and controlling the rapid runoff of water following a downpour. Rainwater harvesting systems can be designed to assist in this regard by building additional capacity into storage tanks to temporarily hold sudden surges from rooftops.
“Environmentally friendly” has become almost a branding device and is widely used in marketing a myriad of different products and services. From a purely financial perspective, it can pay commercial development enterprises to integrate relevant technologies into new builds. Government incentives for commercial enterprises include Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) for water efficient initiatives. The ECA scheme provides 100% First Year Allowance and lets businesses set the whole of their expenditure on designated equipment against their taxable profits in the first year.
When you add the additional attraction that green features and enhancements such as rainwater harvesting add to the public’s perception of a property, one might be forgiven for thinking that green technology pays twice.
We specialise in customising system design to successfully harvest rainwater in almost any scenario possible. Contact us today for more information about rain harvesting systems and options or get a copy of our free Ultimate Guide To Rainwater Harvesting Systems, which can be downloaded by clicking here.