Collecting rainwater to be used for various functions isn’t anything new; it has been practiced long before wars were fought with guns. Only 2.75 percent of the Earth’s water is considered fresh, and this supply is simply not enough for our growing planet. For the record, much of the rainwater that falls on the ground is still considered usable water.
The concept and design of rainwater collection systems has changed little over the centuries; most can be found buried underground and collect rainwater flowing from the surface. As technology progressed, newer materials were introduced, which made the collection systems more durable and functional. Rainwater requires a certain amount of filtering and purification before it can be used for dishwashing, taking baths, gardening, and other activities. But how did rainwater harvesting become what it is today?
One of the earliest forms of rainwater collection dates back to 850 B.C. Rainwater harvesting was a must for cities and towns in the desert and hot places like Moab, found in present-day Jordan. At the time, King Mesha decreed that every house should have a cistern for them to use as rainwater vats.
One of the largest cisterns in history was built around the sixth century A.D. in Constantinople in modern-day Turkey. After it was converted from a basilica, the Basilica Cistern harvested water from above for use by the city dwellers. This rain water harvesting system, sadly, became the last of its kind when people found out that dams and reservoirs were cheaper to build.
Fast forward to the 21st century, the standard rain water harvesting system has witnessed a resurgence; many now lie several feet below the surface. However, these systems are made out of modern materials such as plastics to help the system survive harsh conditions for years. These systems also produce cleaner water unlike their predecessors. Taking advantage of the filtering properties of the soil, clean rainwater can now be used by homes and offices without risking human health.
Rainwater harvesting systems can help homeowners reduce their utility bills and helps conserve the Earth’s limited supply of fresh water. If you want to know more about the rain harvesting system experts recommend, you can check out rainbarrelguide.com/. Another good read is GrowNYC.org.
Rainwater Harvesting Systems: A Short History