Rainwater Collection Glossary

Heaven sent

I’ve found that harvesting and storing life-giving water as it falls from the sky can be an extremely rewarding and gratifying undertaking. However, it’s helpful to have a common understanding of a rainwater collection glossary in order to clearly communicate about this subject. So I’ve prepared an alphabetical list of most of theterms you’ll need to know to fully understand the intangible and tangible benefits that come from operating your own rainwater collection system.

. Discovering the ways that storing rainwater can save money, while at the same time relieving the environmental burdens of our growing water demands, can be a fulfilling process. And there are several rainwater collection accessories gear designed to improve and enhance your catchment system. But to start the process, here is a rainwater collection glossary of terms that will help newcomers become familiar with the basics of rain barrel systems:

Catchment area – The surface that collects or catches water, such as a rooftop, driveway, or patio.
Cistern – An underground tank forstoring rainwater or other liquids.
Downspout diverter – This device allows you to either direct water into your plastic rain barrel or to your normal drain system. If you have a downspout diverter, simply close the gate when the rain water barrel is full. If you don’t own a diverter, install an overflow device on your water barrel. A PVC pipeor overflow hose can carry water away from your foundation and prevent excess water from pooling around your tank.
Pre filters, filters, and strainers – Before the water enters the rain barrel, leaves, twigs, and other debris are removed by one or more of these filters which can be attached to the barrel lid or gutter assembly.
Rain barrels – New or recycled rain barrels used to store the rain water which is collected from the catchment area.
Rain barrel lid – Designed to prevent small children, animals, and insects access to the storage container.
Rain barrel pump- Used to move wateracross distances too great for head pressure (natural pressure from gravity). They also provide the increased pressure needed tooperate sprinkler heads and high-pressure nozzles. Because head pressure depends on gravity to force the water through the hose,
underground rain barrels will need to be pressurized and/or pumped
in order to bring the water to the surface.
Rain Chain – This is a beautiful display of water resource management.Rain Chains work like downspouts by letting water fall from your roof. Rain swirls and flows down and it’s a great way to divert the water off your roof either into a rain garden or rain barrel.
Spigot – An on/off valve located near the bottom of the rain barrel. Rain water can be retrieved directly from the spigot, or a hose can be attached, whereby water can flow to the desired location. underground rain barrels will need to be pressurized and/or pumped in order to bring the water to the surface.

As with many things worthwhile in life – waiting is just the same as wasting. Getting started with your own rainwater harvesting system is easy. You can start by visiting any of the following convenient locations:

  • Organic garden suppliers
  • Hardware stores
  • Home improvement stores
  • Lawn-and-garden centers
  • Online rain barrel suppliers – such as this site

Additional Terms

Aquifer – Aquifers are geological formations that can store, transmit and yield water to a well or spring.
Grey Water – Water left over from domestic use for washing clothes, dishes, and the bath or shower. Contains less nitrogen and is less likely to carry diseases that toilet water with human waste. Properly used, grey water is suitable for use in the garden or landscaping.
Hard Water – Water that contains salts that prevent the formation of lather with soap. Hard water can affect your plumbing by leaving scaley deposits in the pipes. The pipes may narrow or clog with time.