Rainwater Harvesting
Examples of simple rainwater harvesting
Rain Barrels- Rain barrels are the simplest and least expensive way to capture and use rainwater.
The Conservation Foundation sells thousands of rain barrels every year.
(Visit our Rain Barrel Page)
Rain Barrel
Underground Cistern-
A rain tank or cistern can be placed underground with your downspouts directed to it.  A pump is used to get the rainwater out of the tank and usable.
Cistern Below Ground
Aboveground Cistern- A cistern can also be placed above ground to capture rainwater.  Gravity (or pumps) can then be used to move the water to places where you need it.
Cistern Below Ground
Multi-tank Systems-
One storage tank not enough?  Many homeowners connect several tanks together to store as much water as possible.  You can be as creative as you want.
Multiple Tanks
Rainwater harvesting is becoming a new tool in the water conservation and stormwater management. The practice of rainwater harvesting dates back to the earliest days of civilization yet was nearly lost in the age of inexpensive and readily available municipal water supplies.  Lately, with the cost and supply of municipal water becoming an issue, there has been a resurgence of interest in rainwater harvesting by home and building owners.

Rainwater Harvesting refers to the collection and storage of rain. Collection is usually from rooftops and storage in catchment tanks or cisterns. Stored water can be used for non-potable purposes such as irrigating lawns and landscaping, washing cars, or even flushing toilets. Rainwater harvesting systems can range from a simple barrel at the bottom of a downspout to multiple tanks with pumps and controls. Before the creation of public water utilities, rainwater harvesting provided water for many American homes. It is still popular in places with limited water resources.

Using purified drinking water for purposes like irrigating landscape is a waste of a valuable resource. Fox Valley residents are asking more questions about the role of conservation in extending the supply of drinking water. Stored rain water can substitute for piped drinking water for many uses where a high level of purity is not required.

Rainwater harvesting is also effective in reducing stormwater runoff pollution entering the Fox River. When rain falls, it is clean, but it immediately picks up pollutants from rooftops and pavement. This pollution is carried into storm drains and then into streams. Collecting stormwater from rooftops and directing it to storage tanks so it can later be used for irrigation decreases the volume and rate of runoff. If we can reduce runoff, we can reduce flooding, water pollution, erosion, and stream habitat degradation; thus, a cleaner and healthier Fox River.
Did you know?
Captured rainwater can be stored, filtered and used for:
• Landscape irrigation
• Topping off pools, water features and hot tubs
• Washing cars, patios and decks
• Flushing toilets and washing your clothes
And, you can save money!   Can you think of other ways to use rainwater?
Did you know?
• One inch of rain on a 2,000 sq. ft. roof sheds 1,250 gallons of water.
  Our local average rainfall is 36 inches.  This roof could “harvest” and reuse
  45,000 gallons of clean rainwater each year.
• The average suburban home uses up to 3,000 gallons of drinking water weekly
  for landscape irrigation.
• More than 66,000 gallons of drinking water is used outdoors per home,
  per year. This is about 70 percent of a homes’ total water usage per year.
Links to Rainwater Harvesting information and resources:
How to build a rainwater collection system
Rainwater Harvesting in Illinois article  pdf
Rainwater Harvesting - Wikipedia
Rain XChange Rainwater Harvest Systems
Rain Harvesting Diagram
Click Here
for large pdf photo of the Rain Xchange system
Read more about rainwater harvesting
in the pdf version,
page 14-15

A Citizen's Guide to Preserving the Fox River
in Illinois