Collecting rainwater has many benefits, especially for our island communities in Hawaiʻi. Rainwater can be used in place of potable water in various situations. Conserving water is beneficial not only to a household but also to the community at large. A storm water harvest and reuse system can provide essential resources at little to no cost. A system of approximately 1,000 square feet generates 600 gallons of water after just one inch of rainfall! By placing rain barrels below downspouts and runoff areas, rain water can be collected and repurposed for future use. Here are some ways you can use the water you collect:
  1. Garden Irrigation: Rainwater is a nutrient-rich, natural source ideal for your garden. Native plants thrive most with natural rainwater. To irrigate your garden,
    use a watering can filled with rainwater from your rain barrel, or use a hose connected directly to the barrel. 

  2. Washing: Rainwater can also be used to wash vehicles or pets. Softer than tap water, rainwater requires less soap and reduces chemical runoff that may enter storm drains and waterways. Using rainwater as an alternative reduces the consumption of treated tap water and saves on utility bills. If you wash your car at home, remember to wash on a grassy area to help reduce the amount of runoff – the grass and soil will help absorb the wash water.
  3. Emergency Preparedness: Collecting rainwater will allow households to conserve water and use it for daily tasks during a drought. Additionally, if you are ever impacted by a water line break you can use the  collected rain water to flush toilets.  Storm water collection enables the community to take control of its water supply, and make use of a relatively clean and free source of water that might otherwise go unused.

Rainwater has various uses and benefits. Collecting it helps reduce stormwater runoff and keeps pollutants out of our oceans. Our DIY Rain Barrel blog teaches you how to build a rain barrel to collect your water.

Sources: Storm Water Hawaii, Innovative Water Solutions