Benefits of Rain Water Harvesting
- Water harvesting can serve as a supplement to municipal water. In times of low water availability, water held in catchments/cisterns may be used for gardening or other non-potable needs.
- Using harvested water contributes to water conservation and reduces water demands in urban areas.
- Rainwater harvesting can reduce storm drainage load.
- Rainwater harvesting technologies are flexible and can be built to meet almost any requirements. Construction, operation, and maintenance are not labour intensive.
- Some buildings divert rainwater to help with functions such as toilet flushing
Installing rain barrels at the downspouts of your eaves troughs is a great way to collect rainwater to use on your lawn or in the garden during dry summer months. Some important tips to remember when installing a rain barrel are:
- Make sure it has a secured lid to prevent children and wildlife from gaining access, breeding mosquitoes and contamination.
- Use a piece of window screen to catch debris.
- Install an overflow attachment and hose attachment for watering.
- Position the barrel high enough to be able to place a bucket or watering can beneath the tap.
For a very small investment of time and materials you can collect hundreds of litres of free water for your garden every year. For information about rain barrels or purchasing in the Capital Regional District, please see the following resources:
Rainwater harvesting has been used since ancient times throughout the world. Some of the oldest evidence of roof catchment systems date back to Roman times. Roman villas and even whole cities were designed to take advantage of rainwater as the principal water source for drinking and domestic purposes since at least 2000 B.C. In Israel, tanks for storing runoff from hillsides for both domestic and agricultural purposes have allowed housing and farming in areas with as little as 100mm of rain per year. The earliest known evidence of the use of the technology in Africa comes from northern Egypt, where tanks ranging from 200-2000m3 have been used for at least 2000 years – with many still operational today. The technology also has a long history in Asia, where rainwater collection practices have been traced back almost 2000 years in Thailand. The world's largest rainwater tank is probably the Yerebatan Sarayi in Istanbul, Turkey. This was constructed during the rule of Caesar Justinian (A.D. 527-565). It measures 140m by 70m and has a capacity of 80,000 cubic metres. Small-scale collection of rainwater from the eaves of roofs or via simple gutters into traditional jars and pots has also been practiced in Africa and Asia for thousands of years. In many remote rural areas, this is still the method used today.
In Canada rain water harvesting is becoming more widely used in residential, agricultural, industrial and institutional sectors.
For more information about rainwater harvesting in Greater Victoria, please see the following document: