Are Rainwater Harvesting Systems Worth It?


We all try to live more sustainably and environmentally aware lives and try to use fewer resources and utilities. Many people can forget that even in the UK, where water seems plentiful and seems to be falling from the sky, that water is also a valuable commodity. When all we have to do is turn a tap and we have clean, fresh water, it can be easy to forget there is a shortage.

Many people have taken to rainwater harvesting systems to help conserve water, but some may not see if there are any benefits, especially with any upfront costs. But rainwater harvesting can help cut down on resources and waste and will make a difference to your water bills if you’re using harvested water to wash your car and water the garden instead of tap water.

The UK is blessed with many reservoirs that supply our daily needs, but we are not as rich in water as would be believed, despite our often dreary weather. According to research, we use around 150 litres a day, and that population growth by 2030 means demand will outstrip supply by as much as 40 per cent.

Not everyone will want to rush out and buy a rainwater harvesting system, but might instead consider installing a water butt in the garden to collect rainwater for garden tasks. We have a brief look at the costs versus the benefits of rainwater harvesting.

There are rainwater harvesting systems that will suit most pockets. A simple water butt for the garden will cost between £70 and £80, and when set up properly and used to water the garden can recoup the costs in about 18 months.

At the top end, a rainwater harvesting kit can cost up to £3,000 and may take around 15 years to recoup the costs. It may need professionally installing also, which will push the cost up.

However, rainwater harvesting can start to make a more impressive return in the commercial sector, where water usage can be higher. Larger roof surfaces mean that more water can be collected, and harvesting systems can use the water for things like flushing toilets, taking a lot of work from the mains supply.

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