When the rain comes, it is easy to forget the worries about water shortages that we were facing just a couple of months ago. We were lucky that we didn’t face extreme water restrictions during our record-breaking summer, but that doesn’t mean that we will be so lucky in years to come.
Saving water is good for our wallets as well as the environment and, regardless of government restrictions, it is good practice to be water-wise. As we plan for a drier future, harvesting rainwater is a relatively inexpensive and simple process.
Not many things in life are free, but rainwater is! And while it isn’t usually advisable to use rainwater for drinking, it can be used for most other purposes. At the most basic level, you can use rainwater for watering your garden; more complex systems allow you to use it to flush the toilet or even in washing machines.
I Like Big Butts...
The quickest and simplest way to harvest water is via a water butt. The water butt is filled with water from your gutters and drain pipe. Once the butt is full, the water overflows into your usual drainage system.
Installing a water butt is easy – all you need is the butt, a drill, spirit level and a rainwater diverter kit that will bring the water from the down pipe to your water barrel. Some barrels have a stand that needs to be levelled before you start; use a spirit level to make sure that you get a good, even base. Place your water butt on the base near your down pipe and mark on the pipe where your diverter will need to go. Follow the instructions on your diverter kit; the general idea is to remove a segment of your down pipe and fit your diverter into that space. The diverter carries water from the down pipe, through a filter and into the butt; when the water storage is full, the water will continue on through the down pipe into the drain instead of being diverted into the butt.
Checking and Maintaining
Once your water butt is fitted, check it occasionally during or after rain to check that it is working. You may need to disassemble your diverter occasionally to clear any debris from the filter. To prevent blockages, it is advisable that you fit your down pipe with a leaf guard; a simple wire contraption that prevents leaves and other small items from blocking your pipes.
If you don’t have the time or inclination to fit a water butt, get in touch with one of the rated and reviewed handymen in our directory. They will be able to get the job done quickly, efficiently, and with no stress.