The long history of rainwater collection, can be traced (in recorded history) as far back as ancient times some 3,000 years ago (850 BC) if not even farther. The need for water is a basic human essential for maintaining life, without it, no civilization could have prospered. Rainwater collection in ancient Constantinople is one of the last megalithic structures of its kind.
During the dark ages, technologies as advanced as these however seem to have taken a severe decline in the western world, while older less expensive techniques persisted up until the industrial era. With the advance of technology, time proven methods gave way to centralized systems of water collection, with pipes and collective communal systems.
If we however, are to learn from our mistakes, we must study history and in this way rediscover the value of rainwater collection.
As long as water is not a problem, people don’t really seem to care where it comes from or even how it gets in the house, just as long as it is there and useful. This mentality of forgetting as a whole is what must be fought, as it is through the past that we learn to make a better and brighter future, by not repeating the same mistakes as our forefathers. Clean rainwater collection throughout human history has taught us time and time again how this is possible.
Commonly used systems are constructed of 3 principal components:
- Catchment area
- Collection device
- Conveyance system
Used as a secondary source of water for gardening in residential areas, are rain barrels. The City of Ocoee is promoting the use of cisterns and rain barrels for gardening applications. Both rain barrels and cisterns can provide a source of chemically untreated 'soft water' for gardens and compost, free of most sediment and dissolved salts.
Because residential irrigation can account for up to 65% of domestic water consumption, water conservation measures such as rain barrels can be used to reduce the demand on the city's system, especially during the hot summer months.