THE POTENTIAL FOR RAINWATER HARVESTING: “Every small effort by Canadians in reusing rainwater at home can help the community at large fight against climate change,” stated Donald Kim in a guest article for Waterbucket News

Note to Reader:

The following article on rainwater harvesting was contributed by Donald Kim, content specialist of BARR Plastics in Abbotsford, British Columbia. In the article, Donald Kim leads the reader through the steps in the rainwater harvesting process and how reusing rainwater can benefit us and the environment. Donald is a Digital Marketing Specialist with an MBA from Simon Fraser University. For almost half a century, Barr Plastics has been providing environment-enhancing solutions for a range of water management applications, including rainwater harvesting and potable water storage. 

How Can You Reuse Rainwater?

“Rainwater harvesting has become a rapidly trending topic in the global discourse of climate change in 2019. How can we implement a rainwater harvesting system at home in contemporary Canadian society? Let’s take a look at what rainwater harvesting is and how we can implement strategies within the community to help make a difference in response to climate change today,” wrote Donald Kim.

What is ‘Rainwater Harvesting’?

“Rainwater harvesting refers to the process of collecting, storing and repurposing of natural rainwater for future use. Ancient practice of harvesting rainwater in fact goes back thousands of years where Indigenous cultures have been reusing rainwater as a means of domestic and agricultural use.

“In Canada, the rules and regulations of rainwater harvesting is governed by provincial and municipal legislation. More specifically, rainwater is considered common property in British Columbia, and is subject to the Rule of Capture. This means that rainwater is a common property, open for entitlement until it is first captured by landowners who choose to claim it.”

The Rainwater Harvesting Process

“Since the early 2000s, Canadian individuals and municipal governments have been taking action towards an eco-friendly community. They have also been implementing more methods of rainwater harvesting as a generalized green practice. The general process of rainwater harvesting includes catchment, conveyance, filtration and storage.

“The most popularly used systems of rainwater harvesting are rooftop and runoff rainwater systems. Rooftop rainwater systems are generally collected in a storage container underground by landowners, whereas runoff rainwater systems collect the water from a mountain or hillside, so it’s mostly used for large volume populations.”

Catchment & Conveyance of Rainwater Harvesting

“Some of the ways that naturally harvested rainwater can be reused, include:

  • Stormwater reduction
  • Landscape irrigation
  • Laundry
  • Portable toilets/toilet flushing
  • Evaporative coolers
  • Indoor and outdoor plant watering
  • Lawn care

“Some of the major benefits of harvesting rainwater include:

  • Contribution to the demand of municipal water
  • Reduction in the volume of water entering the stormwater system
  • Recharge of ground water

“Consequently, your small actions taken at home by reusing rainwater can help the community at large,” emphasizes Donald Kim.

Rainwater Filtration Strategies & Storage Management

“Rainwater from the sky may have pollutants and other impurities, such as arsenic and mercury, that must be filtered out. Urban Waters discusses this in greater detail:

“At the filtration stage, only the physical impurities in the rainwater are removed. Remember, chemical or dissolved contaminants will still remain in the water.”

“Be sure to take careful precautions by researching the necessary procedures to reusing rainwater for consumption. You can start with your own yard if you’d like to learn more about how you can implement a rainwater harvesting system at home.

“There are variety of ways and process on how to collect and re-purpose rainwater that will help minimize the issue on water supply in the future.”

Make a Difference by Reusing Rainwater Today

“Evidently, rainwater harvesting can create a huge impact towards an eco-friendly community. Every small effort by Canadians in reusing rainwater at home can help the community at large fight against climate change,” concludes Donald Kim.

To Learn More:

Read Changes to BC Plumbing Code Enable Rainwater Harvesting, a story about the 2013 presentation by Zachary May, a Codes Administrator with the Building and Safety Standards Branch.

The BC Building Code enables innovation. Designers can propose Alternative Solutions to the Building Code. Coupled with this enabling opportunity, however, is a duty for designers to demonstrate how they are being responsible in applying an understanding of Building Science,” explained Zachary May at Get Your Mind Into the Gutter: A Workshop on Rainwater Harvesting in British Columbia, organized by the Partnership for Water Sustainability. In effect, he added, the Building Code has a backdoor for those who want to innovate outside of traditional approaches.

To download a set of three ‘big picture’ presentations that set the context for Get Your Mind Into the Gutter, click on Living Water Smart: Doing Business Differently in British Columbia to Achieve Provincial Goals and Targets.