Are you tired of overpriced water bills delivered to your doorstep every single month? Have you decided that you want to cut down on your water usage to ensure that those water bills stop giving you a heart attack each time?

Well, we have the perfect answer for you in your moment of crisis. In this article, we will be discussing what rainwater collection systems are and how they can benefit you.

The History of Rainwater Collection Systems

The construction and uses of cisterns to store rainwater can be traced back to the Neolithic Age. By late 40 000 BC, cisterns were essential elements of emerging water management techniques used
in dryland farming.

Many ancient cisterns have been discovered in some parts of Jerusalem and the entire Israel. At the site of the biblical city of Ai (Khirbet et-Tell) a large cistern dating back to 2 500 BC, was discovered that had the capacity of nearly 1 700m3. This cistern was carved out of solid rock, lined with large stones, and sealed with clay to keep it from leaking.

Rainwater harvesting was also very common in the Roman Empire. Roman cisterns were used, and their construction expanded with the Empire. For example, in Pompeii, rooftop water storage was common before the construction of the aqueduct in the first century BC.

Did You Know?

For centuries the town of Venice depended on rainwater harvesting. The lagoon that surrounds Venice contains brackish water that is not suitable for drinking.

Venice established a system of rainwater collection systems that were based on man-made insulated collection wells. The water would travel down the specially designed stone flooring and was filtered by a layer of sand. The water was then collected at the bottom of the well.

Later, Venice started to import water through boats from the local rivers. The wells remained to be used and were very important in the time of war, when access to the mainland water supplies was blocked by the enemy.

Collecting and using rainwater

Rainwater collection systems, also known as rainwater harvesting systems, are technologies that have been designed to help collect and store rainwater for later use. The rainwater collection systems that are being used range from simple rain barrels, all the way to more elaborate structures with pumps, tanks, and purification systems.

The rainwater collection systems capture rainwater that flows through the gutters. These gutters are normally attached to your roof. Pipes are laid so that the water can be directed from the gutters straight to the water storage tanks. The harvested rainwater is then filtered and pumped directly to appliances or to a header tank.

Once the rainwater has been collected, it can be used for just about anything. Non-potable water can be used to irrigate your gardens, flush the toilets, wash your cars, and even do your laundry. If you want to take it up a notch, use purification systems to purify the water so that it is safe for human consumption.

Rain Barrels

Rain barrels may be the simplest method you can use to collect rainwater. A rain barrel connects to the gutter downspout. It usually has a cover and a spigot at the base for distribution. Raising the barrel above ground level will allow gravity to push the water out. With this method, there will be no need to install any electrical pumps to get the water out of the barrel.


A dry system

This method is essentially a larger version of the rain barrel method. The dry system uses a large storage tank. The tank is placed close to the house for water to flow from the gutter pipes directly into it.
It is called a dry system because the collection pipe is literally dry in-between rainfalls (as the water flows straight into the tank).

A wet system

A wet system is much more complex than a dry system. With the wet method, the pipes are located underground, and all gutters eventually feed into this system. The pipes fill with water until there is enough to spill over into the storage tank. But, due to the need for underground piping, this method costs a lot more than the dry system and rain barrel method.

Pros and cons of rainwater collection systems

Before deciding to install any rainwater collection systems at your home, there are a few pros and cons that need to be considered. But, as you will see, the pros outweigh the cons.


  • Water is free to collect.
    • Rainwater does not contain chemicals or additives that municipal supplies often have.
    • Collecting rainwater reduces the potential for local flooding.
    • Collecting rainwater helps you save on your utility bills.
    • Rainwater is better for landscaping than municipal water.

• Rainfall is very unpredictable.
• Most rainwater storage tanks can take up lawn space.
• Construction and installation are unregulated.

Maintenance requirements

Rainwater collection systems do require some regular maintenance. The gutters and filters need to be cleaned. All the components should be inspected to ensure that all the parts are in proper working condition. This is something that you can do yourself, or you can get a professional to come and do the maintenance for you.