The Daily Telegraph - Saturday

Reusing rainwater

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SIR – For the average household, a system to collect and store rainwater to provide for flushing lavatories and other “grey” purposes adds only a small percentage to the overall cost of the dwelling (Letters, May 26).

While a large cistern is ideal, a storage system would function very well using an ordinary large water butt as the reservoir, with a header tank to feed water where needed. The piping, wiring, pump, filters and other items such as float switches should be easy to install for competent plumbers and electricia­ns. Of course, it would be necessary to install the normal water systems as well, and to provide a safe automatic switchover when the header tank and reservoir were empty, but modern equipment must exist to do this.

I have long campaigned for such systems to be installed in all dwellings and other buildings for human use. Once in place across the country they would perform the functions of a reservoir, reduce demands on rivers and buffer runoff after heavy rain.

John Neimer

Stoborough, Dorset

SIR – I thought that the rainwater harvesting system installed when we moved into a converted pub three years ago was a great idea.

Unfortunat­ely, however, we live in one of the driest parts of the country, so the rainwater tank is more often than not being topped up from the mains.

The harvesting system needs a complex filtering set up that costs £30 to £40 every six months or so when it has to be replaced.

The system also requires a sophistica­ted pump (when our neighbour’s failed recently, it cost £700 to replace).

We are seriously thinking about bypassing the system altogether. David Levy Wymondham, Norfolk

SIR – I live in Maraetai, New Zealand, where it is common to harvest rainwater.

In our Auckland suburb we do not have reticulate­d water – it would cost far too much to supply our large community with piped water. However, with two tanks in our garden and by being careful in our usage during the summer, we manage to grow vegetables and keep ourselves clean.

However, the best thing is the taste: our water is twice filtered before it enters the house, and it makes the best tea. In fact, I no longer drink tea unless at home because I am always disappoint­ed by the taste. So my advice is: if you want to collect rainwater, do it. You won’t regret it. Susan Scott-Knight

Maraetai, Auckland, New Zealand

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