The Disadvantages of Rain Water Harvesting

Written by carolyn sorrell
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The Disadvantages of Rain Water Harvesting
Water covers 72 per cent of the earth's surface. (sea gull above the sea image by alma_sacra from

Harvesting rainwater has become much more popular in the past 10 years, because Americans have become more environmentally conscientious. Many people have come to terms with their individual responsibility to be good stewards of the natural resources on Planet Earth. However, people must also consider the disadvantages of rainwater harvesting.

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Harvesting Rainwater Requires Storage Tanks

Rainwater is usually collected by catching it in gutters as it drains off the house's roof. You will need sturdy, non-leaking gutters, and they must be connected to a container for storage. Your storage container could be anything from a 50-gallon barrel to a large 200-gallon water tank.

This requirement for large, non-leaking storage containers is one disadvantage to harvesting rainwater. You might find these containers to be an eyesore. They might also get in the way of outdoor activities with your family. These containers also can pose a significant hazard to small children, who might accidentally crawl inside and drown.

Water storage tanks should be large.
Water storage tanks should be large. (old water tank image by MAXFX from

Custom Pieces of Gutter and Downspout

Another disadvantage to harvesting your own rainwater is the cost of setting up the gutter system that drains into your storage tanks. Existing gutters around your home may require replacement if they are worn or leaking. Some downspouts will need to be closed off so that the rainwater is directed to the one that goes into your storage tank. There, the downspout must be redirected to the tank rather than to the ground. Special gutter and downspout pieces will need to be constructed to divert the water in the proper direction.

The Disadvantages of Rain Water Harvesting
Some pieces of downspout may need bending and welding. (Dachrinne image by crossgolfing from

Mold and Pests

Rainwater left for long periods of time can grow mould, a living organism that contaminates and spreads. If you have done your job well and now have at your disposal 100 gallons of fresh rainwater, you must use it in a timely manner. Rainwater left in storage containers for long periods of time will also attract insects in search of a fresh water supply. Creatures from spiders and frogs to snakes and possums may find their way to your water storage tank, adding to the contamination. Be sure to utilise your rainwater within 60 days of collecting it so that mould will not grow and pests won't find it.

The Disadvantages of Rain Water Harvesting
Stored water will begin to harbour living organisms. (Das Regen aus blauer Wasser / Blue rain . water . image by Nazar Chabara from

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