Frequently Asked Questions
What can I use rainwater for?
Properly treated, rainwater can be used for any potable or non-potable purpose, from irrigation to human consumption. There are many examples of households in our region and elsewhere that use captured rainwater as their only source of water. Rainwater can also be used to supplement other sources such as a well or municipal service.
Why must rainwater be treated before I drink it?
Although rainfall in our region is relatively clean, it can pick up contaminants from the air or from the catchment (roof) and conveyance (gutters, piping) surfaces. Treating rainwater to make it potable ensures that these contaminants are removed, making the rainwater safe to drink.
Is rainwater reclaimed water?
No, it can be considered a primary source of water. Reclaimed water is treated wastewater that has already been used for another purpose.
How much water can I collect from my roof?
The amount of water you can collect is a function of the size of your roof projected onto a horizontal plane, the amount of rainfall your site receives and the efficiency with which your roof and conveyance system delivers water to your storage facility. In the City of Victoria, the normal annual rainfall calculated from data collected at the Victoria Francis Park weather station is 984.5 mm. At that rate, a 1,500 square foot roof near this site would receive over 137,000 litres annually. Taking into consideration expected losses at a conservative rate of 20%, you could potentially capture about 110,000 litres. Your ability to actually do this would depend on your usage patterns and the size of the storage you have available. With the bulk of rainfall in Victoria occurring between November and April, most rainwater harvesters find that their tanks are full to overflowing for much of the winter. When we create your system, we can plan for that overflow to be used most effectively in your landscape.
How much storage do I need?
The amount of storage you need depends on how much water you want the system to deliver. For those hoping to offset another reliable source of water, such as a municipal service, the size of storage may be more dependent on budget and space considerations than actual demand. For others who rely exclusively or partially on rainwater, it is critical to correctly balance supply and demand. We do this by modelling your predicted usage patterns against the expected rainfall throughout the year. The storage you have must be large enough to bridge the gap between supply and demand during periods when there is little or no rainfall. We want to make sure that you are satisfied with your system and can help you to ensure that it is sized accordingly. In general, people tend to be happy having more water rather than less. Ensuring that you can easily add more storage should you need it is a key design consideration.
How much money will I save by harvesting rainwater?
That depends, but often the motivation to use rainwater goes beyond pure dollars and cents. Offsetting consumption of metered water does save money but with municipal water rates in Canada being among the lowest in the world, the savings can be relatively modest. Having said this, if you don't have access to a municipal supply, rainwater can often be a cheaper alternative to drilling a well or relying on trucked-in water. Some jurisdictions such as the City of Victoria and the Regional District of Nanaimo offer incentive programs to encourage active and passive rainwater harvesting which can help with the up-front costs.