Community Empowerment

Rainwater Harvesting Saves Municipal Water Supply

The city of Ekurhuleni is encouraging its residents to consider rainwater harvesting as a backup system to complement the supply of water into their homes. Prior to harvesting systems and the current technology devices, rainwater was the only source of water supply.

Rainwater is free. Whereas, water from the municipal supply is not. You are billed for what you use. By using your stored rainwater in and outside the house to flush the toilet, clean the house, water the garden, and clean the car, you will not be using municipal water and will see a steep drop in your monthly water bill.

Rainwater is valued for its purity and softness. It has a nearly neutral pH, and is  free  from  disinfection  by-products, salts,  minerals,  and  other  natural  and man-made  contaminants. The main benefit for using stored rainwater is evident with plants, as they thrive under irrigation with stored rainwater.

Advantages and benefits of rainwater harvesting are as follows:

  • The water is free; the only cost is for collection and use.
  • The end use of harvested water is located close   to   the   source, eliminating the need for complex and costly distribution systems.
  • Rainwater provides a water source when groundwater is unacceptable or unavailable, or it can augment limited groundwater supplies.
  • Rainwater is sodium-free, important for persons on low-sodium diets.
  • Rainwater harvesting reduces flow to storm water drains and also reduces non-point source pollution.
  • Rainwater harvesting helps utilities reduce the summer demand peak and delay expansion of existing water treatment plants.
  • Rainwater harvesting reduces consumers’ utility bills.

A basic rainwater collection system includes a roof, gutters or roof drains, and a piping system to convey the water to and from a storage tank or cistern. Storage tanks can be inside or outside, above or below ground, or partially above and partially below ground.


Pic 1: Rainwater tank situated at the O.R Tambo Environment Centre in Wattville.