Rainwater Harvesting Systems Outline Water Conservation Efforts in the U.S.

May 10, 2021

Rainwater harvesting system industry is fast emerging across the sustainability space

About the author:

A qualified Engineering graduate, Vinisha Joshi takes pride in playing with words. Presently, she pens down insightful articles on business, core industry, technology, and the like.

The rainwater harvesting system industry is fast emerging across the sustainability space. The world today receives a yearly precipitation of about 100 cm, which is somewhere about 39 inches. However, this is distributed very unevenly. It means that some areas in the Southeast Asia or equatorial zone record the highest rainfall, while some of the countries and places in Africa receive as low as 2-inches of rainfall annually.

It would be surprising to note that despite these numbers, a huge amount of rainwater is wasted worldwide due to the dearth of rainwater management and the knowledge of the ongoing water crisis, adding to the water scarcity statistics. In 2017, nearly 884 million people lacked access to clean drinking water.

In fact, the United Nations has estimated that by 2025, two-thirds of the global population will face an acute shortage of freshwater. These numbers have been raising alarming concerns amongst various state as well as central governing bodies, allowing them to come up with the idea and concept of rainwater harvesting. A recent breakthrough in this concept has been achieved in the U.S., by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

According to an article by Agrilife Today, Healthy Lawns and Healthy Waters Program organized by the education agency is expected to host a rainwater harvesting and turf organization program for the residents of Gillespie, Kerr, and Kendall counties in early May. The online event is being provided in alliance with the Upper Cibolo Creek Watershed Partnership.

It has been estimated that the global market for rainwater harvesting system would account for an annual remuneration of $7.9 billion by 2027. Both developed and emerging economies are expected to witness a robust pace of the technology adoption.

What Are the Benefits of Rainwater Harvesting?

But why go for rainwater harvesting? "Sustainability is the need of the hour"; an important fact which implies that common practice of rainwater harvesting can help the residents store water for the future use. It can be used to invigorate the ground level water and enhance its quality. More so, harvesting rainwater checks surface run off of water, while reducing soil erosion.

Speaking of surface runoff water harvesting, this potential type of rainwater harvesting is the collection, accumulation, treatment and storage of storm water for its eventual reuse. Water thus obtained is an exceptional alternative to using main drinking water for diverse purposes.

Industry professionals claim that if properly designed, surface runoff catchment systems boast of the ability to collect large quantities of rainwater. That said, surface runoff rain harvesting market share is expected to record a substantial CAGR of 3.7% over 2021 to 2027.

Storm Water Management Expands in U.S. with Rainwater Harvesting Systems

Recently, Arlington County’s Department of Environmental Services, in response to the increasing storms, flooding and ongoing development, had announced revamping its storm water management regulations for single-family home construction projects. It was suggested that the team would require developers to make use of tools like water storage tanks to ensure that new homes can retain at least 3-inches of rain, which will potentially affect applications submitted after Sept. 13, 2021.

Climatic changes, a buzzword in the current era of global warming and globalization, has been shown to cause extreme precipitation events over the past few years. The effects of these adverse weather events have indeed resulted in massive costs incurred in affected areas in terms of destroyed infrastructure, casualties and economic damage.

As a matter of fact, since 1980, each of the hurricanes that have hit the areas of U.S. have resulted in a cumulative cost of $870.2 billion. Considering these daunting statistics, a variety of storm water management strategies and initiatives, that have been based on rainwater harvesting systems, have been developed to reduce the severe impact of urban runoff following these conditions.

This apart, a number of national storm water management strategies, including the Water Sensitive Urban Design and Sustainable Drainage System (SuDS), have also been deemed to be beneficial tools. Smart urban cities can use them to reduce the pressure that extreme storms have had on their drainage systems.

During April 2021, the city of Wausau, Wisconsin, announced a rain barrel system program. Homeowners connect the roof’s rain spout to the rain barrel collect rainfall and build a natural cycle of water supply, rather than letting the rainwater flow into the sewage. This water is considered better for plants and other such uses as compared to the municipality-treated tap water. The city will charge $50 for barrels for residents and $75 for non-residents.

Numerous cities across the country adopt rainwater harvesting barrel programs to encourage people to adopt affordable and practical solutions. The barrel system earns an edge over a couple of other harvesting systems owing to the low initial cost.

Germany — Leading the Ground in Rainwater Harvesting

The average annual rainfall in Germany varies from 563 mm to 855 mm. This has enabled the authorities to lay huge focus in the promotion of household rainwater collection, especially at local government level. It is projected that the country will hold a leading position in Europe rainwater harvesting system industry through 2027.

A main merit associated with the development of rainwater collection systems is that many German cities charge owners, a rainwater drainage fee, which is generally waived off if rainwater runoff is retained to ground, enabling significant savings. In fact, the country is a host of umpteen rainwater harvesting projects and developments conducted at the government level. One of which is rainwater harvesting at Frankfurt Airport.

Frankfurt Airport in Germany has one of the biggest rainwater harvesting systems in the country. According to official sources, the system helps the nation save approximately 100,000 cubic meters of water annually. The cost of system realization was about USD $63,000 in 1993.

The world is currently facing a critical need to address climate change and water scarcity issues with sustainable water conservation strategies and solutions. The idea of rainwater harvesting is expected to come out as a lucrative opportunity for environmentalists and various governing bodies in 2021 and beyond.

About the Author

Vinisha Joshi

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