What can I do with Rainwater Runoff?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 15 August 2019
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In times past, many people made regular use of rainwater runoff. The basics of this approach called for positioning a barrel to catch rainwater as it ran off the roof toward the ground. In recent years, people who wish to be more responsible with the planet’s resources have revived this once common practice, and put available rainwater runoff to good use.

A basic system to catch the rainwater involves nothing more than having a gutter system around the edges of your roof. The water is captured in the gutter and routed downward with the use of a drainpipe. By positioning a barrel or cistern underneath the open end of the pipe, you can capture rainwater every time it rains. This simple approach works very well for people who own their own houses and property.

However, you can still collect rainwater runoff if you live in an apartment. By positioning a bucket or other type of rainwater catcher so it can catch rain as it runs off the roof of your building, it is possible to collect the water and utilize the resource for many of the same applications as a homeowner. Since the resource is free, you may also find that it helps to reduce your living expenses, if water is not included in your monthly rent.


There are several ways to make use of rainwater runoff. One of the most common is to use the collected rain in your gardening efforts. Rainwater is ideal for watering potted plants or flower beds around the yard. You can also make use of the collected rainwater to irrigate your vegetable garden. By running a simple hose from the barrel or cistern to the garden area, you can easily provide your vegetables with just the right amount of moisture to promote steady growth.

You can also make use of rainwater runoff for other tasks around the house. Rainwater works very well for projects such as washing the car or even washing down the exterior of the home. The water is also handy for washing windows, scrubbing outdoor walkways, and the floor of the patio or deck. For households where these types of projects take place several times a month, you will soon see a significant amount of savings on your monthly water bill.

It is even possible to utilize rainwater runoff for drinking. However, it is important to remember that before drinking the collected water, you must filter and purify the liquid. Depending on where you live, the water could contain a number of contaminants that would severely impact the quality of your health. The agricultural department of your local county government can provide information on how to filter the water and make it safe for human consumption.


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