Gaines Group Architects

Green Term Defined: Rainwater Harvesting

Rain water harvesting is the collection of water for reuse before it reaches the aquifer.

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Uses include landscape irrigation, car washing, flushing toilets, drinking water, and / or washing clothes. Rain water provides protection against short-term droughts for keeping your garden alive. It can also reduce the impact of run off in neighborhood streams and ponds. A rain water collection system can also be used in the event that public water supply becomes unusable or polluted.

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Rain water harvesting systems are easy to set up. You need a collection system like a gutter and roof and a storage system like a barrel or cistern. Adding a filter can prolong the life of your storage system and reduce the first flush pollutants from getting into the system.


In some areas in the mid-west it is illegal to collect rain water. Charlottesville now has a Storm water Fee based on your impervious surface on your property. This fee may be reduced by having a rainwater harvesting system on your property.