Over 97 percent of the 1.4 billion cubic kilometres of water on earth is sea water – unusable water. The majority of the remaining freshwater is permanently frozen in glaciers and the Poles.
Only 0.3% of the World’s total water resource is freely usable freshwater.
Then there is the bigger problem of the reducing quality of mains water. Purification is becoming increasingly difficult and expensive because of the increased pollution caused by nitrates, pesticides, phosphates and other chemical substances. This means that the freshwater reserve is being used in a permanent cycle.
The Environment Agency says that the average consumption of freshwater in the UK is 150 litres, per person, per day.
The answer to this is to replace mains water with untreated rainwater. For some domestic applications, the quality of purified water is unimportant. A typical household can save almost 50% mains water and in a commercial or agricultural environment, this saving can rise to 90% as rainwater can be used for livestock.
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Advantages of the use of rainwater
What You Will Gain?
- The investment will be worth it and will be offset by the rising cost of domestic water from the water companies. Using rainwater in combination with a metered mains water supply means that ultimately you will save on water bills.
- It has been proven that investment in a rainwater harvesting system will increase the value of a renovated or new home by many times the cost of the initial equipment.
- Prospective purchasers view all eco-friendly such as rainwater harvesting as an attractive and sometimes even necessary addition to any contemporary home.
And now the government is exerting pressure to use rainwater:
Planning applications with rainwater harvesting are favoured.
Businesses can benefit from the Enhanced Capital Allowance scheme to offset the installation cost of rainwater harvesting against tax.
Businesses have a tax incentive (as above) and in the future the Government should implement grants such as exist in Germany where in some areas a grant of £1000 is given towards the cost of installation. Germany now has over 50,000 rainwater harvesting systems installed every year – half a million in total so far!
New homes must have meters and all water boards are required to install meters free of charge to existing households too. Metered homes use over 10% less water; having a meter and using rainwater could reduce your water bill.