Recycling rainwater – how and why?
Money doesn’t grow on trees and good ideas don’t fall from the sky… but rain does fall from the sky and if you have the right idea to collect it, it can help you grow your trees and save money!
However, savings alone are not always a decisive argument, since installing a recovery system can seem like a lengthy investment. In Quebec, the reasons why people collect rainwater are mostly ecological, in the context of preserving our main natural resource: blue gold!
Yes, water is an abundant resource in Quebec, and our infrastructures and technologies are well established in most municipalities to meet demand. The demand for water in Quebec households is highly varied, however, and not all uses require biologically potable water. That’s why more and more people are opting for rainwater harvesting for their garden and other needs.
- Uses for reclaimed rainwater
- For watering flowers, plants and lawns
- Washing cars and bikes
- Filling a pond or swimming pool
- To water your garden
- The benefits
- Saving water and protecting the water table
- Limits runoff along your home’s length, thereby reducing the risk of flooding
- Rainwater is better for watering plants because of its low lime content.
- Subsidies for the purchase of recovery barrels available in certain municipalities
Collect the water that runs off the roof of your house by directing it to one or more storage tanks, buried or not, using the gutters. Care should be taken to filter this water to remove dead leaves, branches and mud to prevent the formation of silt at the bottom of your reservoir.
If the tank is above ground, a tap is installed so that the water can be used outdoors. If the tank is buried, the water is pumped to the garden drains, or to the house if a recovery system has been installed for domestic use (toilet cisterns, sanitary uses not requiring drinking water, etc.). The cistern must be fitted with an overflow system to evacuate any excess water into the stormwater network.
A few basic rules
- No matter what type of barrel or reservoir you choose to install, if the tank is kept off the ground, it’s important to observe these few safety rules:
- Choose a reservoir with a maximum volume of 1500 liters to limit the risk of flooding should the barrel be knocked over;
- Install a filter for leaves, debris and small animals in your gutters and keep them clean;
- Equip your tank with a tightly closed safety lid that cannot be opened by pets or children;
- Install an overflow outlet and a faucet to connect a hose or fill a watering can;
- Select or create a stable surface that will not soften in heavy rain;
- Make sure the barrel(s) remain accessible even if you camouflage them with a hedge or aesthetic planting;
- Store your barrel over winter to prevent damage during the cold season.
Caution! To be used for drinking and cooking, water must be potable. These include filtration, chemical treatment and ultraviolet radiation.