Harvested Rainwater Reuse / Rainwater Recycling
Do we not have enough water?
In Ireland, we consider ourselves a water-rich nation.
Ireland, Britain and many regions of central and northern Europe have the benefit of plentiful precipitation spread out over the year.
Nevertheless, climate change, freak below-average precipitation levels, overall growing population numbers and ongoing agricultural & industrial development have led to frequent water shortages in our reservoirs.
What can harvested rainwater be used for?
Although rainwater recycling is not suitable for personal hygiene, it can be used for toilet-flushing, washing-machines, irrigation, outside taps etc.
Therefore, the majority of our daily water use does not have to meet stringent EU Drinking Water Standards and can be covered by rainwater reuse. The average domestic house can substitute up to 50% of its water use with rainwater recycling.
Interesting notes and links:
EU Drinking Water Directive (DWD)
I do not have a water meter but am charged flat regardless of actual water use. Why should I harvest rainwater?
Metered water charges have already been implemented in the commercial sector and with the introduction of water meters on private premises in the future, consumption-related water charges will be introduced throughout Ireland.
This is also in line with European targets on water conservation, as a diligent handling of the resource water has shown to be directly linked to the principle of paying per use.
In addition, the continuous upgrade and renewal of our municipal water supply and sewerage network will result in immense costs for the State over the coming years.
We can therefore expect increased and metered water charges in the not too distant future.
In other European countries such as Germany, where water metres have been in place for decades, average mains water consumption is considerably lower, with water charges being 2–3 times higher than the commercial water charges currently in Ireland.
What other benefits does rainwater reuse have?
Installing a rainwater recycling / rainwater harvesting system is not only an investment into the facility for immediate and future benefit.
A professionally designed rainwater harvesting system with an adequate tank size also retains rainwater required under the provisions of Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS).
Reducing rainwater run-off volumes in the municipal storm-water network helps to decrease flooding levels during periods of intense & prolonged precipitation.
Rainwater is also "softer" than mains-water resulting in less lime-scale build-up in toilet cisterns, washing machines and the use of less washing detergent.
Furthermore, it is ideal for watering plants and all irrigation purposes!