There is a new crop in town. It’s nothing we can eat, but it provides a vital lifeline for our planet. It’s called rainwater harvesting which, as the name suggests, collects, processes and stores rainwater from the roofs on buildings.
Actually, collecting rainwater is not a new phenomenon as it dates back to Roman times, but it’s gathering fresh momentum as water shortages spread across the globe.
During the time of the Roman Empire, rainwater collection became something of an art and science, with many new cities incorporating state of the art technology for the time. The Romans were masters at these new developments and great progress was made right up until the 6th Century AD and the rule of Emperor Caesar.
One of the most impressive rainwater harvesting constructions can be found in Istanbul in the Sunken Palace which was used to collect rainwater from the streets above. It’s so large that you can sail around it in a boat.
Now, industry and agriculture are utilising the rooves of their buildings to capture rainwater. The water is diverted from the gutters via a filtration unit for storage in large tanks. Given the UK gets an average of 33 inches of rain a year, the potential to accumulate thousands of gallons is well within reach. Experts estimate that for every inch of rain that falls on a catchment area of 1,000 square feet, you can expect to collect approximately 600 gallons of rainwater. Ten inches of rain falling on a 1,000 square foot catchment area will generate about 6,000 gallons of rainwater.
Of course, the rainwater collected is not suitable for drinking unless it is further filtered and exposed to UV treatment. However, given the demand by industry for water for cleaning and processing, rainwater harvesting can go a long way to reducing the colossal consumption. Many industrial processes use a staggering amount of water from start to finish. It takes about 270 gallons of water to produce $1 worth of sugar; 200 gallons of water to make $1 worth of pet food, and 140 gallons of water to make $1 worth of milk.
Another powerful reason to consider rainwater harvesting is the current building regulations which encourage sustainable performance in buildings. Reducing the use of water within a building will earn credits that count towards reaching the BREEAM standard.
Kirton Water Treatment Services has gained considerable expertise over the years in producing rainwater harvesting systems currently in use on poultry farms and vehicle wash installations.
“Our customers are seeing a significant reduction in water consumption with a rapid return on investment, “says Kirton MD Jon West.
You can find out more about our work with water treatment services here.