Water is the most vital resource for human civilisation – and with global trends of water pollution, contamination and desertification, water is becoming more precious than ever.
The cost to industries to import water to where government utilities are not available (such as in rural agriculture) is immense, which leads many to consider water catchment methods.
In this brief article we explain how to make the most efficient water catchment system that actually produces drinkable water, by collecting rainwater.
Following Nature’s Lead
In nature, water takes the path of least resistance, creating streams and settling ponds. The sediment naturally filters to the bottom of the ponds, and drips down through many layers of sediment into underground aquifers. These aquifers contain the purest source of water – if you can get to them.
This is exactly the situation in Northern Australia where in the wet seasons the rivers rage with enough water cure Australia’s water shortage for good. You would think it makes perfect sense to build dams to capture and store this precious water that largely goes to waste out to sea.
Flooded Fitzroy River
Capturing and storing vast amounts of water in dams is only part of the solution. Dams are subject to high rates of evaporation, vast distances and relatively small storage when compared to the underground aquifers. An interesting concept that is gaining momentum in Australia is ‘managed aquifer recharge’, or MAR. This is where underground water reserves are replenished through human intervention. Mining Boss Andrew Forrest supports MAR and has developed his ‘upside down weir’ where water is gravity fed down into the aquifer via seepage.
Drought-proofing Australia is the mission of mining boss Andrew Forrest, and he’s starting by experimenting on his family’s cattle station in WA’s Pilbara. Source: www.abc.net.au
That is one reason why rainwater catchment in water tanks is more efficient at harvesting water than building dams: the water is contained and will not evaporate. While storing water underground will eliminate evaporation, managed aquifer recharge projects are costly and very large scale and should be in the direct interest of federal and state governments to support and develop.
Making the most of Rainfalls
Rainwater is a no-cost, natural resource that has been collected by Australians for domestic and agricultural use since the early pioneering days.
An early days shed with rainwater tank installed.
Even today making the most of rainfalls is still a major problem for Australia with vast proportions of the country affected by drought at certain times of the year.
A drought affected lake
There are notable advantages for catching rainwater the moment it drops from the sky onto your property, even if you live in an area that has scheme water with no shortages. Using rainwater tanks on your own property actually saves in the costs of water treatment and transporting or pumping.
A gutter in perfect working condition
Catching your own rainwater decreases stormwater runoff, thereby helping to reduce local flooding and scouring of creeks. It also helps reduce the need to build dams or extract water from rivers. Rainwater tanks on private properties will help reduce the need for desalination plants, protect remaining environmental flows in rivers and reduce government infrastructure operating costs.
How do we do it?
There are a few, vital, pieces of equipment required to construct a water catchment system on your property:
- -Rooftop of any material including: cement, terracotta, iron, fibreglass and slate
- -Tank (size and shape is based on consumption and whether it shall be buried or sit on top of the ground)
- -Gutters or similar rainfall funnelling system
- -Hoses and pumps (again, depending on your individual needs)
Keeping the rooftops and gutters clean will ensure the initial water will be as clean as possible.
The best water catchment method in Australia
Also, consider building a closed system to mitigate contamination from air pollution, debris, and animals. Regular maintenance will ensure a reliable supply of potable water year after year.
COERCO understands the value of providing solutions that combine practicality with engineered robustness and inventiveness in your industry.