Rainwater harvesting is very important in all aspects of water use including in the agriculture sector, domestic water use as well as commercial and industrial water use. There are various ways of harvesting rainwater with rooftop water harvesting being the most common way. Rainwater harvesting is important as it helps collect water for later use mostly when there is scarcity as well as enhancing one’s self-sufficiency. Rainwater harvesting helps reduce the cost of purchasing water for various uses as well as promoting environmental conservation. Gutters are important in rainwater harvesting as they collect the rainwater and direct it to a collection point.
Collecting rainwater is mostly done into rainwater tanks which can be made of different materials. The various materials used in the making of the rainwater tanks includes plastic, concrete, fiberglass, aluminum metal, and stainless steel which should be resistant to rust and other chemical reaction. Factors affecting the choice of a rainwater tank includes affordabilitily as well as the durability. The most durable water tanks are usually the concrete tanks although they are less preferred to plastic tanks. The rainwater tanks can be placed on the ground surface to collect the rainwater, or they can be placed underground. It is a little hard to fit underground rainwater tanks with taps or valve, so water has to be pumped from the tanks so as to use it.
Covering of the rainwater tanks is important leaving only the entry point for the water pipe so as to avoid entry of unwanted materials into the rainwater tank such as leaves or even animals. Preference for plastic tanks is because of their ease of availability and also come in different shapes and volumes. Plastic tanks are highly affected be algae hence should be placed on a concrete surface which keeps away the algae. Solar radiation exposure reduces the lifetime of plastic tanks hence should be placed in places where there is little or no direct sunlight. Rainwater tanks made from other materials can contain contaminated water unfit for human use hence safety measures should be put in place when using them.
Harvested rainwater usually have a lot of contaminants hence should be sterilized for human consumption. The contaminants come about as a result of many settling on the rooftop hence find their way into the harvested rainwater. Some techniques for removing contaminants from the rainwater to make it safe for drinking is by chlorination as well as filtration. Preferred method is usually chlorination since it is affordable and also effective in water sterilization. Loads of contaminants usually settle on the rooftop hence it is important to ensure that water is not harvested during the first rain so that the contaminants cannot find their way into the rainwater tank.