Collecting rainwater is the simplest, cheapest way of getting a water supply. Rainwater harvesting is practiced all over the world. As water becomes scarcer, it is being promoted in many cities as a good way to recycle water, and cut down on utility bills.
To install a water harvesting system you might need permission. If you check with your local authority they might say no, so be careful.
Rainwater harvesting in Africa
Rainwater can be collected in tanks or barrels. As it is not filtered, it shouldn’t be drunk, but can irrigate gardens or be used for cleaning. Just install a network of gutters all round your roof and buy a tank – or build it yourself . Make sure your tank is made out of an opaque material (to prevent light from getting in, and inhibit algae and bacterial growth) and has a lid. You can also connect your tank to your flushing system, for a rainwater toilet flush …
To turn rainwater water useable for drinking, cooking and washing, you have to filter it. For this you need a special cistern with a series of filters and a purification system to collect water from your gutter. The cistern can be placed below or above ground. It is connected to your household appliances and taps, providing free, clean filtered water.
Experiments in Sustainable Urban Livinga case study in Oregon, USA
Green Plumbers has a list of things to consider when installing a rainwater harvesting system
Sustainable Earth Technologies Australian website with a good page on rainwater harvesting
Sustainable Building Sourcebook detailed information on rainwater harvesting
Another good guidebook is available from theTexas Water Development Board
Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission for more information