Saving water in the rain

The rain is falling today

The rain is falling today

Here in west Wales, it’s rather wet… in general and today specifically. According to Climate-data.org, the average annual rainfall here in Aberaeron is 981 mm, but the picture is variable:

Rainfall in Wales varies widely, with the highest average annual totals being recorded in the central upland spine from Snowdonia to the Brecon Beacons. Snowdonia is the wettest area with average annual totals exceeding 3000 mm, comparable to those in the English Lake District or the western Highlands of Scotland. In contrast, places along the coast and, particularly, close to the border with England, are drier, receiving less than 1000 mm a year. (The Met Office)

This means that in Wales we have plenty water. But even so, us Snails continue to be careful with our consumption: collecting rainwater, reducing the amount of mains water we use and minimising our water use in general. Why? Since we have so much, why not slosh it about as much as we want?

Rain-diverter on a downpipe and a water butt

Rain-diverter on a downpipe and a water butt

The answer is that all resources come at a cost… not just financial, although our water is metered and we do pay for what we use, but there is also a cost in terms of energy and infrastructure. Water that comes from the mains has been treated and processed. So, if we can collect our own water to use in the garden, for example, we are being a little bit more sustainable. Storing water also slows down its progress through the landscape and helps to avoid drains being overwhelmed during storms. Our towns and cities are full of hard, impermeable surfaces to ensure that water does not accumulate, but this means that storm drains can easily be overwhelmed during heavy rainfall events. By collecting rain water in ponds and water butts and using it to water plants or flush the toilet over a number of days, we slow its movement and help reduce possible flooding. Indeed, lots of the rain water that we capture Chez Snail never makes it into the drains as it’s used by our plants.

We also have an additional reason for collecting rain water: the insectivorous plants like it. They don’t like the chemicals added to ‘processed’ water out of the taps and need something a bit more natural. We only water them with rain water and they seem to be thriving:

Cephalotus follicularis Albany carnivorous Pitcher Plant growing well

Cephalotus follicularis Albany carnivorous Pitcher Plant growing well

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20 Comments

  1. We have 2 IBCs to collect rainwater at 1,000l each. Don’t know about Wales but here, if you collect all the water off your roof and stop it going down the drain, you get about £50 a year off your sewerage charge.

    Reply
    • I don’t know what the rules are, but I know we’d need about 10 IBCs to catch all the water of our (large) roof!! We have 1 IBC, 3 large water butts and one small one… sadly don’t really have space for more!

      Reply
  2. Those insectivorous plants are looking very healthy!

    Reply
  3. Your pitcher plant looks very healthy. Here in Northern Tasmania we have just had the first rains in two months. It was starting to look like Serendipity Farm was going to become the new Californian dust bowl for a bit. The garden has sighed a massive sigh of relief but we “get” the need to save water. We are pretty dry most of the time and it would be SO lovely to have as much water as you guys get 🙂

    Reply
    • I remember your posts about climbing into the huge water tank – hope it’s functioning well.

      Reply
      • Full of water but they just informed us today that they will be stopping our untreated water and we will be the “lucky recipients” to be getting chlorinated and fluoridated water from now on 😦 Might need another 10 000 litre tank methinks 😦

        Reply
        • Wanting to drink untreated water? You dangerous subversive!

          Reply
        • Floridated water is as bad as water can get. We fought it here and won, for now. Ours is treated and full of Florine but I filter it for drinking and cooking. My showers are short because the skin is the largest organ of our body and absorbs the chlorine.

          Reply
          • With you on that Marlene but we are a teeny community out here and they didn’t even give us a chance to have a say. It’s rolling out on November 12 and there is nothing we can do about it. Obviously they want complete control of our water but that just means that I am going to save up and get another rainwater tank. We have a water filter as well and will be following you on the shower front 😦

  4. As I read this the rain is drumming on our steel roof, the most welcome sound! The first ‘big rain’ of the year. Our ‘moat’ out the front (storm drain) will undoubtedly be running fast and deep, the ducks will be ecstatic, and the grass will be knee deep by lunchtime, I should think! Hallelujah, here comes the Wet!

    Reply
  5. I buy cut flowers once a week for Ju. Halfway through the week I have to top the vase up. If I use rainwater the flowers are much perkier and last longer.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    Reply
  6. They are starting to make it illegal to save water from our roofs. They can’t charge us for that and that’s against their business code. If I owned this land, I’d be hiding rain barrels everywhere. I’m glad you are able to save your water.

    Reply
  7. Collecting rain water makes such good sense. I admire you for doing so. I’ve had a quote on one rain catchment system, but everything things to move slowly over here. He quoted one for behind the house, but that is where we sit, plant the garden,etc. I asked for a new quote for the side of the house and I’ve not heard back. It just started to rain an hour ago. We’re in year four of a drought, so these are welcome drops. I want to catch all of them

    We filter our drinking water to avoid the baddies that come with it. Still, I think about some of the stories I hear out of Africa and water born killers in every sip of water and it really drives home how good we have it.

    Reply
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