Mar 172010

There’s no denying that the droughts can make things rough for everyone. Boating and fishing are affected as water levels drop. Water restrictions result in brown lawns and unwashed cars. And if it gets really bad, water restrictions could get even tougher. All around Georgia, local and state agencies are cracking down on water use as the severe lack of rain continues.

Most people throw up their hands and cry “what can you do?” But not everyone. Some people are looking to innovative new takes on old solutions. The result? Lush green lawns; shiny, clean cars and, best of all, lower water bills month after month.

Welcome to modern rainwater harvesting systems. Before cities had their own water systems, just about everyone had a rain barrel that collected all of the rainwater from their roof to use for standard household activities. But, as plumbing systems evolved, convenience won out and the tap became the go-to source for household water needs.

Today, however, people are starting to return to the idea of hanging on to the rainwater the falls on their property, rather than letting it soak in and enter the water table. Here are 3 reasons they’re doing it:

1. Less than 40% of your water needs require pure, potable water. These essentials include cooking, drinking and bathing. Just about everything else–60% or more–doesn’t require nearly as stringent controls. Things like laundry, flushing the toilet, watering the lawn, washing the car. If you collect rainwater and reintroduce it into your irrigation and plumbing systems, then you can reduce your use of city water considerably. And if you aren’t using city water…you aren’t paying for it.

2. Ignore the Water Bans. There are more than just financial benefits to using harvested rainwater. If your not getting the water from the public water supply, then the water restrictions don’t apply. Which means you can water your lawn as often as you need to keep your yard green and growing. While your neighbors’ yards are wilting in the heat, yours will look vibrant and alive.

3. It’s actually good for the environment. If you are capturing and storing the rain, then there is that much water that isn’t carrying pesticides and other household pollutants back into the environment and into the public water table. You also don’t have to worry about concentrated flow from downspouts causing erosion, saving you repair work in the future

These systems work by capturing the runoff from your roof, filtering it and storing it in a cistern on your property. From there, the water is integrated into any of your existing plumbing or irrigation systems as you see fit.

You can get a rainwater harvesting system installed by a professional quickly and painlessly. The systems can also be tailored to fit in with your existing decor and homeowners association guidelines—even installing the cistern underground so it remains out of sight and unobtrusive. An easy way to find someone who can install a rainwater harvesting system is to search for EPA-certified WaterSense partners in your area. WaterSense certification means the professional is trained on the latest tools and techniques for creating irrigation and water-related systems that have a minimal impact on the environment.

It’s something that might well be worth looking into. While it might save your lawn if the drought persists, it will continue to save you money even if the drought comes to an end.

Robert Evans is owner of Property Creations and one of only ten EPA WaterSense Partners in Georgia. Learn more about rainwater harvesting at

Author: Robert F Evans
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Robert F Evans

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