Rainwater can serve variety of usage including watering plants, landscaping, outdoor washing and toilet flushing. Because rainwater does not go through extensive filtration like that of municipal water, rainwater harvested is suitable only for non-potable uses (i.e. usage that does not require water of drinking quality).
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That said, the savings from rainwater harvesting usage can be very substantial as non-potable use accounts for up to 50% of water usage in a household. Depending on the rainwater storage capacity, rainwater harvesting could halve water consumption despite its usage being limited to non-potable use.
Can Rainwater Be Used for Laundry or Car Washing?
As rainwater does not go through as extensive filtration like that of municipal water, fine particles may still be found in rainwater. Plus, rainwater consumed is not direct but goes through roofs, gutters and pipes which have different cleanliness level. Likewise, some areas are more polluted than others – which may affect the purity of harvested rain. Therefore, user’s discretion is needed when using rainwater for laundry or car washing.
Is Rainwater Better For Plants?
Generally, rainwater is more pure than municipal water as it contains less salts, minerals and chemicals than the latter. Most gardeners also believe that water of a slightly acidic pH is better for soil health. In this regard, rainwater is slightly acidic (pH 5.6) while municipal water is more alkaline (between pH 6-8.5).