Roof wa­ter re­source ig­nored

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery -

Col­lect­ing roof wa­ter is be­ing sug­gested as part of the so­lu­tion to stretch­ing wa­ter sup­plies dur­ing a drought.

Sav­ing rain from go­ing down the drain is needed as cli­mate risks to wa­ter sup­plies in­crease even in so­called wa­ter-rich coun­tries like New Zealand, says Massey Univer­sity Roof Wa­ter Har­vest­ing Cen­tre di­rec­tor Stan Ab­bott of Welling­ton.

‘‘Many re­gions ex­pe­ri­enced the ad­verse ef­fects of a long, hot sum­mer and be­cause of the drought some lo­cal au­thor­i­ties im­posed strin­gent wa­ter re­stric­tions and en­cour­aged house­hold­ers to im­ple­ment wa­ter con­ser­va­tion mea­sures to lower the de­mand for retic­u­lated wa­ter,’’ he said.

‘‘In­ex­pli­ca­bly how­ever, very few lo­cal au­thor­i­ties seemed to be ac­tively en­cour­ag­ing house­hold­ers to in­stall rain­wa­ter tanks be­fore, or even dur­ing the drought.’’

Roof-col­lected rain­wa­ter could be used as a non­drink­ing wa­ter source for toi­let flush­ing, wash­ing ma­chines and for gar­den wa­ter­ing, he said.

Stud­ies show rain­wa­ter tanks re­sulted in an­nual mains wa­ter sav­ings from 18,000 to 55,000 litres for 1000 litre tanks and from 25,000 to 144,000 litres for 10,000 litre tanks.

Lo­cal au­thor­i­ties spend mil­lions of dollars an­nu­ally col­lect­ing, stor­ing, treat­ing and dis­tribut­ing drink­ing wa­ter to their com­mu­ni­ties and in the Auck­land re­gion alone, about 25 per cent of potable wa­ter is used in com­mer­cial and in­dus­trial build­ings.

More than 10 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion de­pends solely on roof-col­lected rain­wa­ter sys­tems for their drink­ing wa­ter.

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