How is rainwater useful?

Rainwater Use in Sustainable Gardens

For those who live in areas surrounded by fresh water supply, water may seem like an infinitely renewable resource. But is it far from it. Clean water supplies are dropping globally, and we will soon face a crisis if we don't start combatting this issue immediately. Only 2.5 percent of the Earth's water is fresh water, and the majority of that fresh water is contained in polar ice caps.

Fortunately, it is easy to start doing your part in water conservation. Gardeners who are interested in freshwater conservation can easily contribute by switching to rainwater use for sustainable gardens. The benefits of rainwater harvesting are major; it reduces demand on our freshwater supplies, and helps reduce water pollution at the same time. Rainwater isn't contaminated with the salt and oils associated with ground and surface water, which makes it ideal for usage in your sustainable garden.

Rainwater harvesting is an ancient practice with roots running all the way back to over 4,000 years ago in the Middle East, when runoff water was collected in ditches for use on crops. Many areas of the world still rely heavily on this practice today. Some places, like Australia, even use rainwater as their primary water source.

Starting Your Own Sustainable Garden

One of the simplest and most common ways to use rainwater for a sustainable garden is through the use of gutters and a barrel for collection.

Begin by choosing a collection area for the water, such as a roof, where rainwater naturally runs downward during a shower. Then fashion a way for that rainwater to run to a collection site, by using gutters or piping. Pick out a storage unit for the freshwater, a storage tank or barrels, and make sure to install a filter that will intercept debris when the first flush of rainwater comes through your gutter system.

Finally, you will need a pump that can distribute the rainwater throughout your garden. There are several green options for the pump, like a hand-pump or solar powered pump, that will make for easy gardening.

It's important to plan your rainwater harvest thoroughly, to ensure the system runs fluidly. Remember to plan for where overflow water will go during a heavy rainstorm, and enjoy your new sustainable garden using rainwater harvesting!