Rainwater is an excellent renewable resource that not enough people take advantage of in New Zealand. Building a rainwater collection system is an excellent way to divest your water sources and reduce intake from the mains. This can in turn reduce your water bills and give you a low cost sustainable water source for years to come. But before you build your system there are a couple of things you need to consider.
When designing your system you need to think about the amount of water you want to store, the amount you are prepared to spend and where you are going to physically store the water you collect. Is your tank going to be above or below ground? What are you going to use this water for? Answering all these question swill be key to designing and building your system. Then there’s the problem with finding a supplier of all the parts you need.
There are a few places in New Zealand that have this kind of thing. Companies like Devan Tanks have pretty much everything you need to build a rainwater system in New Zealand. They have all the water ranks and rain harvesting equipment you could ever really need to build an efficient rainwater collection system. With nationwide suppliers and delivery you can’t really go wrong. Of course if you don’t want to spend heaps of money on a top of the line system and are just looking for some extra water for the garden or to wash the car with, then a clean plastic barrel and pvc piping is good enough. It really depends on what you want and what your budget is.
Whatever you decide to do there are several components that you will absolutely have to get.
You Will Need:
- A Cistern (a water tank suited to purpose)
- A Diverter (something to divert the flow of water from your roof/gutters and filter the water)
- A couple of pipes (to get your water from the roof to the filter and into your cistern)
- Leaf beater (optional to keep leaves and large debris out of your downspout)
Choose your cistern type and position/bury your cistern as necessary. I would recommend having an underground tank as the lack of sunlight discourages growth of algae and other bacteria. Having your tank buried also keeps it protected from cold weather and enables it to be easily refilled if necessary. Whichever you choose just ensure your cistern is accessible for maintenance and cleaning purposes.
Once you have your cistern set up, attach your diverter to the downpipe of your roof gutters ensuring that the diverter fills and releases water correctly (test this by running some water down the downpipe and seeing if it passes through both ends of the diverter.
Using the piping that you have gathered (ensuring that you have enough) connect the diverter pipe to your cistern ensuring that the water is able to freely flow down the pipe without being blocked.
Step 4 (optional)
If you choose to do this step at all, it is recommended that you do this step before you connect your diverter. Connect your leaf beater or other drain pipe guard to the topmost part of your downpipe to ensure no leaves, twigs or other debris gets into your system and blocks it.