Harvesting rain a no brainer

Tamara Cartwright with her new 20,000L water tank.

Anton Drazevic

Tamara Cartwright with her new 20,000L water tank.

OPINION: It’s been a wet start to Spring this year, which our localweather expert John Mathieson says has brought our reserves back up after thedeficit recordedover summer.

In fact, rainfall levels for Nelson for the past three yearshave been above average and we are on track to measure the same in 2019. Ifthis is the case,then why do we have restrictions and why do we need toconserve water?

Climate change experts tell us that with a warmer climate wecan expect changes to our current weather patterns.

The Ministry for the Environment’swebsite has information about how this change will play out in New Zealand. Wecan expect heavier, more intense rainfall that falls less frequently. Thismeans longer dry spells, which was certainly our experience over the last summerin Nelson.

As a community we need to build our resilience to cope withthis change and one of the ways to do this is to take control of your own watersupply.Harvesting water is essentially the process of catching and storing rainfor use by your household or business.

This can save you money and can reducethe pressure on our natural water resources, leaving them for futuregenerations to enjoy. It also gives you access to an emergency water supplywhenthe need arises.

With the right system in place, rainwater could meet around65 per centof your household needs. You can start small by installing a simple systemto divertsome of the rain from your gutters to water your fruit and vegetablegarden.

“It seems ridiculous to use mains water on the garden,” saysTamara Cartwright,who recently installed a large 20,000L water tank This way she is assured her native garden will thrive.

“The water tank provides security for us and our neighbours should we need it in the future.”

The Nelson City Council has great online resources that canhelp you determine your needs for harvesting water and the infrastructurerequired. If youare planning on installing a large enough system to supplyyour water for bathing and drinking, be aware that you do require buildingconsent. A brochureand short how-to video can be found onwww.nelson.govt.nz/water-and-wastewater.

In the meantime, it’s always good to be mindfulof your water consumption and respect our natural resources.

* Jess Ettridgeworks at the Nelson Environment Centre