Clever ways to utilise stormwater around your home
Save water - tick. Save money - tick. Protect the environment - tick. Add value to your home - tick. Taking another look at how we use stormwater around our homes can offer so many benefits for us and the local environment it seems ridiculous not to reconsider this great resource.
3,000 gigalitres of stormwater is created by urban areas around the country each year. For one of the driest continents in the world surely that’s a good thing. However, the issue with city stormwater is that unlike the rain that falls in more rural areas where 80% gets evaporated, the stormwater in urban areas becomes runoff which can overwhelm our natural waterways.
City stormwater can also carry with it fertilisers, rubbish, pollutants, sediment, introduced plant and garden debris which goes straight into the local creeks and rivers, and eventually to our beautiful oceans.
As our urban areas grow this issue only continues to put more strain on our waterways. The problem needs addressing at all levels of government, however, there are things you can do to make a difference.
One of the ways your home can make an impact is by rethinking what happens to the stormwater that is collected from the roof of your house and the surrounding hard surfaces. In a recent article by ABC News, Associate Professor Chris Walsh, a water researcher from the University of Melbourne, recommends the use of rain gardens and rainwater tanks to divert, filter and reuse stormwater in our own backyards.
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What is a rain garden? A rain garden is a low maintenance, self-watering garden which helps capture rain runoff from impermeable areas such as roofs, driveways or paths helping to divert stormwater out of the drain systems.
These gardens use the soil, plants, and the naturally occurring microbes in the soil to treat the stormwater runoff.
The stormwater collects in the rain garden where it gently soaks through the plants and soil trapping any rubbish or debris on the surface. The plants utilise the nutrients in the rainwater and pollutants or toxins get stuck in the soil.
Note - Home rain gardens are designed to cope with low volumes of stormwater. Rain from larger storms or weather events should be able to bypass the rain garden feeding the water into stormwater drains to avoid damaging the garden.
Rainwater tanks are an effective way to collect stormwater for use in and around your home as well as assist in reducing the volume of water going into our natural waterways. Using this water source in your home also lowers the demand for the mains freshwater system.
The water from the tank can be used for a range of purposes throughout your home and in the garden including:
- Flushing the toilets
- Washing clothes
- Cleaning the car
- Watering the garden
By installing a rain garden or a water tank at your property you can help reduce excessive stormwater runoff in your area and help protect our delicate waterways.
If you're in Sydney and are interested in installing a rain garden or rainwater tank at your property our team of plumbing and drainage specialists can help.
Read the original ABC News article here - https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-15/rain-gardens-green-roofs-solutions-for-stormwater-problem/11843114