Harvesting rainwater for household use

2016-02-25 06:00
Whether you’re the man on the street or a business owner, you don’t want to be caught off guard by water shortages.

Whether you’re the man on the street or a business owner, you don’t want to be caught off guard by water shortages.

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

WATER treatment plants have come under increased pressure to supply clean, safe water. As the demand increases, so do the costs. By harvesting and utilising rainwater in our homes and gardens, we not only reduce the demand for municipal water but also our monthly utility bills.

Water is an essential element for the daily functioning of life. With limited or no access to it, our lives are turned upside down. Plumbing rainwater into your house allows you to flush toilets, wash clothes and shower or bath without the worry of municipal water-shedding. By utilising rainwater, we lower our demand for municipal water and reduce our dependence on dams and water treatment plants.

A report released in early October 2009 by the Water Research Commission of South Africa found that South Africa has 4% less water than 20 years ago. Six years later, we are experiencing a national water crisis, with water-shedding being implemented throughout KZN, and many communities being cut off from water supplies for up to three days at a time.

Now’s the time to do what we can to preserve every drop of rain before we reach the Rand Water prediction of 2025. Rand Water has predicted that the demand for water in South Africa will far exceed supply by 2025, but without viable solutions to harvest and utilise rainwater, we’ll surely reach this critical level by 2020.

What is rainwater harvesting?

Rainwater harvesting involves saving rainwater which would normally flow off your roof and down the drain, and using it in a number of applications ranging from garden irrigation to in-house usage for toilets, washing machines and (with extra filtration) human consumption.

The general rule states that 1mm of rainfall over one square metre will give you a litre of rainwater. Over a year, this adds up to a large amount of rainwater, on provision that you utilise the rainwater collected between rainfalls.

External uses of harvested water

Collecting rainwater for outdoor use allows you to complete a number of backyard tasks like watering the lawn, flower beds and pot plants.

It also allows you to fill up your pool, pond or water feature and wash your car or boat.

You could also use it to wash garden furniture and other items.

Internal uses of harvested water

Rainwater can also be used indoors for interior home sanitation like flushing of toilets.

It can also be used for personal sanitation such as washing of clothes and dishes, and with extra filtration, rainwater can be plumbed directly into your house to be used for cooking, showering and drinking.

What happens when there is no rain?

When there is a prolonged period without rain, you can supplement your stored water from either a borehole or by using municipal water. Doing so ensures that you always have water in storage in the event of municipal restrictions. A small booster pump will supply constant water pressure to your house during these periods.

Advantages of harvesting rainwater


Using rainwater tanks to collect water makes us more aware of our water usage and more conscious about saving water.


Water treatment plants are under increasing pressure to supply clean and safe water to an increasing population. The growing demand and diminishing quantity of water available are having a knock-on effect on our economy, and increasing the cost for this basic service.


Waking up to find that there is no electricity is an inconvenience. Waking up to find that there is no water is a much larger inconvenience. By harvesting rainwater, we can ensure a constant supply of water regardless of municipal water supply.

Install your own tank

Get your own tank installed today and have peace of mind for the future. Homeowners can get all types of tank installations and tank sizes varying from 750 litres up to 5 000 litres.
- Property24.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Tim Noakes found guilty

13 minutes ago

Inside News24

How much food do you need to concentrate?

We have been taught that we need three meals a day in order to make it through the day and while most of us indulge in more than our fair share there is a large portion of South Africans who are living off barely enough to sustain them.


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.