South Africa is home approximately 54 Million people. We are fast running out water. We are currently experiencing drought in many parts of the county and our dams are running dry quickly. As more and more people migrate into cities from rural areas the pressure for the city to meet the water demands is ever increasing. With the old infrastructure and poor service delivery from municipalities, homes can go days without water.
Harvesting of rainwater is not a new concept. It is still used extensively in rural areas where there is no access to piped water. Rainwater is pure water that is “cleaned” naturally through the process of evaporation and condensation i.e.: the water cycle. Rainwater is “soft” water that contains no chemicals or minerals, unlike our municipal water where calcium, magnesium and chlorine are to be found. This water is collected from the roof and filtered at source to remove dirt and debris and keep the water in the tanks clean. This water can then safely be pressurised and sent into the home or business for general use.
Rainwater harvesting not only provides a sustainable alternative source of water, but has also been shown to reduce water consumption purely by raising awareness of users that install systems. People who harvest rainwater tend to alter their water usage habits and reduce their overall consumption, without significantly changing their lifestyles. It is a simple way to reduce water consumption with the real-time cost benefit in reduced water bills.
The average household consumes approximately 240lt of water per person per day. That means that for a household with four people in it, 960lt of water is used every day which equates to 350’400lt per year. Harvesting from a roof area of 200m² a family home could collect over 120’000ℓ of rainwater per annum.
Would you believe that only 3% of your total water consumed is used for drinking and cooking. The rest is used for the garden (35%), toilet flushing (29%), bathing/ showering (20%) and for laundry (13%).
If every South African home harvested Rainwater for use in the garden, pool or even the home, it would reduce the demand for water on municipalities, it would be good for the environment and it would offer you water security while saving you money.
Rainwater Harvesting System
The Rainwater harvesting system will divert and sieve the rainwater from your roof though a self-cleaning filter box fitted to your downpipe and fill your water tank. From your water tank the water is then pumped (via an in-line filter) to the entire property. There is a municipal top-up on the tank set at your required level (around 1’000ℓ) ensuring you are never without water. This will reduce your dependence on the main water supply.
The system guarantees you water at all times by allowing the introduction of mains water should you run out of rainwater.
Grey water reuse.
Grey water is defined as water from baths, showers, hand basins and clothes washing machines or the laundry. Any water from any other source (toilet water and from kitchen and bidet’s) is considered black water and must be allowed to proceed to the sewer and treated by some sort of sewerage treatment works.
A bath uses 120 litres and a shower 80 litres of water. When used, that water is called grey water. You pay for it, and then it all goes down the drain.
Grey water is the solution to the problems relating to demand and supply management of water not only in South Africa, but worldwide.
Grey water is the biggest contributor to wastage of water and though knowledge of this very useful source is growing generally, this knowledge is still woeful. At best 33% of water consumed in the home is normally thrown away and at worst perhaps 50%. It is preposterous that any municipality allows this precious source of good water to be thrown away.
If we look at the figures above, showering/bathing and laundry combined total some 115’632lt per year. This grey water is then pumped to the garden keeping it watered all year round at no extra cost. We have already established that we use approximately 122’640lt per year on keeping our gardens watered so the water needed for the garden is reduced to 7’008lt per year.
This water is slowly filtered and replenishes our underground aquifers. Added to this, it would remove up to 90% of the volumes entering our sewage works. This would dramatically reduce the running costs of these works as by far the biggest cost is pumping of water.