Rainwater harvesting is very important in all aspects of water use including in the agriculture sector, domestic water use as well as commercial and industrial water use. The mainly practiced rainwater harvesting is the rooftop water collection for various uses where water is collected in tanks. The major rainwater harvesting benefit is provision of water for later use when there is water scarcity or contaminated water and helps individuals enhance their water self-sufficiency. Economic enhancement, as well as environmental conservation, is greatly enhance by rainwater harvesting. Gutters are important in rainwater harvesting as they collect the rainwater and direct it to a collection point.
Various types of materials are used in the making of rainwater tanks where the rainwater collected is usually stored. Rainwater tanks can be made of plastic, concrete, fiberglass, aluminum metal, and stainless steel which should be resistant to rust and other chemical reaction. Durability and affordability are some of the major factors that have an influence on the choice of a rainwater tank to be used. Concrete rainwater tanks are usually more durable than the other tanks although rainwater tanks more preferred are those made of plastic materials. The rainwater tanks can be placed on the ground surface to collect the rainwater, or they can be placed underground. Underground water tanks usually require that the water be pumped from the tanks since they cannot be fitted with a valve or a water tap.
Covering of the rainwater tanks is important leaving only the entry point for the water pipe so as to avoid entry of unwanted materials into the rainwater tank such as leaves or even animals. Plastic rainwater tanks are used in many places since they come in different sizes, and volume and also one can find them almost everywhere. Plastic tanks are highly affected be algae hence should be placed on a concrete surface which keeps away the algae. Solar radiation exposure reduces the lifetime of plastic tanks hence should be placed in places where there is little or no direct sunlight. Other rainwater tanks made of other materials used should be well fitted to avoid contaminants getting into the water more so if the rainwater collected is for human consumption.
Rainwater collected from rooftops for human consumption should always be sterilized through various means. The contaminants come about as a result of many settling on the rooftop hence find their way into the harvested rainwater. Some techniques for removing contaminants from the rainwater to make it safe for drinking is by chlorination as well as filtration. Preferred method is usually chlorination since it is affordable and also effective in water sterilization. Loads of contaminants usually settle on the rooftop hence it is important to ensure that water is not harvested during the first rain so that the contaminants cannot find their way into the rainwater tank.