As Canadians, we’re lucky to have access to three coastlines and the world’s largest supply of freshwater. So it might be a stretch to think of water as something you can waste—especially if you spend your summers at a waterfront cottage.
But the reality is that even though freshwater is one of Canada’s greatest natural resources, we squander it every day by using heavily treated water from overtaxed municipal systems and wells for non-potable uses. In other words, if you’re not drinking it or cooking with it, there’s a better source that won’t waste water. And unlike most valuable things in life, it falls directly from the sky. You simply need the right tools to harvest it and conveniently use it in your home or cottage.
Rainwater harvesting means collecting and storing water for any uses that don’t involve drinking or cooking. While systems of the past were as simple as connecting your downspout to a barrel, today’s rainwater harvesting systems are far more sophisticated. A Rewatec rainwater harvester collects rainwater from any type of roof and then filters it before feeding it into a leak-proof
recovery tank that’s hidden underground. A specialized pump then pushes the rainwater through a screen filter before you use it in your home and cottage.
And while minimizing your water waste by up to 40 percent is the most obvious benefit, rainwater also has some special properties that make it ideal for the following uses in your home or cottage.
Nourishing your gardens
It’s no secret that your garden loves rain, but that affinity runs deeper than a mere need for water. It turns out that rainwater actually has some physical properties that your plants love. Since it’s low in both calcium and magnesium, it’s naturally soft, and it’s free of other treatment chemicals and heavy metals. It’s also slightly acidic, so it can help your plants absorb nutrients from the soil. And if you’re serious about gardening, you know your plants can’t thrive without nitrates, which are found in rainwater.
Encouraging your compost
If you’re not lucky enough to live at your cottage, a simple compost heap is likely the easiest way to turn those Saturday-morning coffee grounds and eggshells into nutrient-rich topsoil. But if you’ve ever turned your compost over and noticed that it’s dry or struggling to decompose beneath the top layer, you’ve been missing an important step. Just like your lawn and garden, your compost heap needs water, and harvested rainwater is the perfect no-waste source during summer dry spells.
Refilling the flush
Unless you’re still rocking an outhouse (in which case, we admire your rustic resolve), your toilet accounts for approximately 31 percent of the 329 litres of water the average Canadian uses each day. And while cottage toilets are notorious for issues that too often surface during a guest-filled weekend, waste doesn’t have to be one of them. Simply refilling your flushes with a reliable source of harvested rainwater can make a huge impact on the amount of water you use.
Lathering your laundry
The last thing we want to do at the cottage is laundry, but our cozy sweatpants can only hold so much of that campfire smell. And if your cottage relies on well water, which is “hard” due to its mineral concentrations, you might not be aware of how much soap you’re wasting in your washing machine. Naturally soft rainwater contains sodium and potassium, which help it generate a rich lather and lift oil and dirt from clothing. It’s also much easier on fabric, so you’ll get more life out of your favourite cottage hoodie.
Climbing a ladder to clean your eavestroughs every spring and fall is a filthy but necessary task. And that’s doubly true for cottage owners, who have twice as many gutters to un-gunk. But the reality is, those eaves perform an important task: keeping excess water from seeping into your foundation, leading to leaky basements and expensive, mouldy damage. But even clean gutters can’t always stop stormwater runoff from pooling around your downspout and causing structural damage. A rainwater harvester, which captures that overflow and puts it to good use, not only reduces strain on municipal water sources; it also reduces the potential that a heavy rainfall could become an uninvited guest in your basement.
Want to stop wasting water in your home or cottage system? Learn more about Rewatec rainwater harvesters at PT-WaterEnvironment.com/rainwater.