splash of water

Sustainable Water Sources: Choosing Between Rainwater and Well Water

Water conservation is a challenge many businesses and households face. You may think clean water is available forever and anywhere, but it can be quite limited in some areas. And of course, our clean water sources are dwindling over time due to climate change and other environmental issues.

Southwestern regions in the U.S. including Texas experience severe drought conditions, forcing their residents to spend a ton for drilling wells or re-drilling existing wells. As such, several municipalities in the area have reported implementing Stage 4 Drought Water Conditions.

If you live in a region where water is abundant, you may think conserving water shouldn’t be a task for you, but you couldn’t be more wrong. Regardless of where we live, it’s crucial not to take clean water for granted. You can decrease your consumption of your area’s water supply by either digging a well or collecting rainwater.

You may also do both, but maintaining a well and a water tank might be too demanding. So let this article be your guide to choosing between the two.

Well Water

well water

Wells are common in farm regions or farmlands, but they can be found in urban and suburban areas too. They’re considerably safer than surface water, which tends to be contaminated by animal waste, drainage from cattle operations, manure runoff, and sewage discharges.

Surface water is found in ponds, streams, lakes, and rivers. So if you live near any of those bodies of water, use or consume them with caution, especially if there’s a farm or septic tank close.

But well water can be contaminated too, particularly if the well is situated near flood-prone areas, septic tanks, cesspools, agricultural waste, or drainage fields. The risks for contamination go higher if the well wasn’t constructed properly, or if its casing has cracked from age. But if a well is sited strategically, properly built, and diligently maintained, its likelihood of being contaminated can reduce to zero.

Rainwater

rainwater on the ground

To be able to collect and harvest rainwater, you’d need a rainwater harvesting system, or a galvanized water storage tank. The latter is a vital resource on rural properties of Western Australia, where potable water isn’t available.

Tanks usually collect rainwater from roofs, so you have to keep your roofs clean to prevent them from developing contaminants. Bird and other small animal droppings, dead animals and insects, microorganisms, air pollution, industrial or agricultural waste, smoke or other emissions, and unclean tanks or pipes are the things that can potentially harm your collected rainwater.

Ward off the dirt and debris by maintaining the cleanliness of your gutters, removing overhanging tree branches, covering the inlet and overflow of your tank, and covering the tank itself, so that light won’t reach the water inside and breed bacteria.

When you start collecting rainwater, allow the first good rains to rinse the roof and gutters first, then run it to waste. That’s because the first portion of the runoff is usually contaminated.

Pointers for Choosing Well Water or Rainwater

If you choose well water, ensure that your well is properly built and located. There should be 2 inches of grout between the casing and the surrounding soil to prevent surface water from infiltrating it. There should also be a 100-foot radius around the well that animals and their waste shouldn’t be able to reach. Cover the mouth of the well for safety, and check its water quality periodically.

If you go with rainwater, the type and material of your roof matters. Rainwater is cleanest when it runs off from cement, terracotta tiles, galvanized iron, polycarbonate, fibreglass sheeting, and slate.

Sourcing your clean water from the ground or the rain will cut down your costs, let you save the environment, and make you appreciate the power of nature more. So consider this your sign to dig a well or buy a tank now.

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