What is Rainwater Irrigation?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 02 November 2019
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Rainwater irrigation is the process of using collected rainwater to provide water for plants and gardens when the weather is otherwise dry. This is usually done by gathering rainwater through a variety of different means, and then saving that water for use at a later time. Some of these systems can be quite complex and involve fairly elaborate irrigation systems, while others may simply include rainwater gathering and the use of a watering can. Rainwater irrigation is an increasingly popular way to provide water for grass and gardens, as it can save money on water bills and may even incur tax relief.

One of the fundamental aspects of rainwater irrigation is the collection of rainwater through some sort of gathering system. This can be done in a number of different ways, though one of the most common and fairly easy ways is for someone to set up gathering bins around his or her home. These bins are usually fairly large containers, anywhere from just a few gallons (about 7.5 liters) to 100 gallons (almost 380 liters) or more. The set up will usually place the containers either directly under locations where rainwater naturally gathers on a rooftop or with drainage leading into them from gutters.


Rainwater irrigation can then be accomplished using the rainwater gathered in these containers. This can be done through fairly elaborate irrigation systems or through simple manual watering. Automatic irrigation systems will usually include some type of irrigation, such as drip irrigation or a similar system, but rather than drawing water from a home water supply, the water comes from the rainwater containers. These types of systems are usually designed with a number of thin hoses running from the water container throughout a garden, yard, or other area that requires irrigation. The hoses are usually part of a larger system by which water is able to drip slowly from different areas of the hose.

A simpler form of rainwater irrigation would similarly require the gathering of rainwater in large bins, but then using that water for regular watering. This can be easily accomplished with a watering can, by gathering water into the can and then carrying it to various plants or a garden. Rainwater gathered for rainwater irrigation should never be bathed in or ingested, and most bins should have some type of sturdy mesh cover to keep out plant matter as well as insects, small animals and children. Some regions provide tax incentives for people who utilize rainwater irrigation systems, and the initial expense of such a system can often be offset by reduced water bills.



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