Rainwater Harvesting

Why harvest rainwater? ……………. Do we not have enough?

Definition of rainwater harvesting: The process of gathering rainwater to store and re-use.


  • very environmentally friendly option
  • rainwater is better for water heating appliances
  • better for cleaning cars and watering gardens
  • more cost effective for toilet flushing
  • future proof against years of water rates*

The Irish people in the past collected rainwater in barrels at the bottom of their drain pipes. This water was then used for washing clothes, cleaning and in other household roles.

The modern era has given us free water that has been chemically cleaned, filtered and piped to our homes in a quality fit to drink. However of all the water we pipe into our homes very little is used for drinking and cooking. Instead we flush gallons down our toilets and pump many more gallons into our washing machines and dishwashers each week.

The expensive task of cleaning our drinking water is wasted money given how little is actually use for human consumption.

By utilising the traditional concept of rainwater harvesting in a modern way we can save a lot of treated water from being misused. Not only that but rainwater is better for household appliances. It carries only trace elements of the impurities that we commonly have in abundance in this country.

Much of the water in Ireland contains levels of hardness. Sometimes negligible and in other cases horrendously difficult to live with.

Hard water does not mix well with detergents and soaps. By using rainwater for washing clothes, you can lengthen the life of your washing machine – little/no lime-scale build-up, you can have cleaner clothes with less use of soap and the garments themselves will often keep their new look for longer.

*Water rates are a common discussion point for domestic use. In Ireland we have been fortunate for many years to not have had to pay for treated, filtered, clean water on tap provided by our local councils. However this is an area where sizeable taxes can be received by the government and in many other countries it is normal to pay domestic rates on all water used.

One Comment

  1. Just spoke today with the owners of a new business in Mullingar. They are harvesting the rainwater from the roof of a commercial premises, storing in a large tank, topping up with softened water if the tank is low and using all for washing cars. For them it means reduced water rates and reduces their cost of detergents. For the motorist it means no nasty white water marks when the car dries off.

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