Rainwater Harvesting

Collecting your own water might sound primitive, but it’s a great way to reduce waste


Why collect water when you can simply turn on the tap?

You should collect your water because energy has been used to clean tap water and pump it to your home. Fresh water is an increasingly scarce resource that shouldn’t be squandered. Rainwater harvesting consists of a huge storage tank in the garden or under the ground that collects rain from your guttering. This can then be used for non-potable purposes such as the loo and washing machine, or to irrigate the garden. Costs vary: a tank buried in the garden costs more than one sitting in a forgotten corner, while plumbing into your home is more costly than running a hosepipe from it!

Very attractive if you’re on a water meter. Increasingly important in urban areas where there is rising pressure on water resources and drainage. Systems cost from £2,000.


  • Relatively simple to fit to your home.


  • You’ll need outside space to house the system and a digger if you want it to go underground.

  • You’ll also need an electric pump if you’re going to use it at home, costing 10p per week to run.

Useful Contacts

Rainwater Harvesting: www.rainwaterharvesting.co.uk
Rainwater Harvesting Association: www.ukrha.org
Environment Agency: www.environment-agency.gov.uk
The Centre for Alternative Technology: www.cat.org.uk


Words: Dominic Murphy  Illustration: Rainwater Harvesting

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