Rainwater harvesting 'has big benefits'
The life of water treatment plants could be extended by the use of rainwater harvesting, following the results of two pilot projects.A study by the National Rural Water Monitoring Committee has found that harvesting rainwater has both economic and environmental benefits.
It is believed that the process could cut down on the waste of drinking water, while eradicating the need for the use of treated water in washing, gardening, flushing toilets and other such activities.
One of the pilot projects, which took place on a rural housing development in County Carlow, discovered that by using rainwater, the demand on mains water was cut by up to a third.
The other pilot found that 43% of the mains water was replaced in the use of animal troughs at a farm in County Meath.
According to the Irish Times, the report said: "Rainwater harvesting is a sustainable water conservation measure that has the potential to contribute to the sustainability of raw water sources and to the viability of water treatment plants."
Rainwater is also important to agriculture, with drought periods causing the death of many crops and excess rainfall potentially causing diseases within crops.
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