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Your grandparents may have been rainwater conservationists and you didn't even know it. Many rural families don't have unlimited resources for water. Often times wells are bored and dependent on ground water, and most residential wells 30 or 40 years ago were the bored type. They can dry up or become low in summer months, so conservation is the natural order of things.
It wasn't unusual for people to put out plastic buckets or anything else that would hold water when it rained, and some even built water towers for catching rainwater.
Conservation is Just as Important Today
As we have all learned from droughts and water rationing, there is never a guarantee that we will have sufficient water to use for irrigation or watering our gardens. Conservation today, whether you live in the suburbs or in a rural setting, is just as important as it was for the farmers of yesterday.
Of course, no one wants to have plastic buckets sitting all around their yard, and they are a big mosquito attractant in the warmer months. You might put up a big round collector like the one from the old television series "Petticoat Junction," but there have been so many advancements in rainwater collection that installing something much more appealing is the best course of action.
Rainwater Collection that is Pleasing to the Eye
While many homeowners prefer to bury their reservoirs out of view, others prefer to make them an intricate part of the home. Whether the application is a residential one or for a community or business, there are many esthetically pleasing ways to achieve rainwater collection.
You should consult a professional to see what options are available for rainwater harvesting. Collection tanks can be placed both above and below ground. Pump systems are available also that are designed to work based on the size and location of the tank.
Power or Gravity in Rainwater Harvesting
An above ground collection facility allows for use of water without the need for mechanical pumps. If the water is to be used for irrigation, the piping is placed underground and a simple gate valve is opened to allow the water to run out.
Underground water obviously needs a pump for dispersal. There are some advantages to having a system of this type because it can be automated with a timer. Additionally, a pump can provide more pressure than a gravity flow system.
Your grandfather had a good idea, but it's nice to know that you can get better results with less work on your part, and you won't have to go the route of having buckets placed around your yard.