Until SB 09-080 was put into law, residents of Colorado who harvested rainwater for personal use were thought to be ‘thieves of the watershed’. In Bermuda, any new house constructed must have an adequate rainwater harvesting system in place. From Montana to Melbourne, the future of rainwater harvesting is here, armed with promising technologies to regulate collection. Question is, are we ready?
Within areas like The Philippines, harvesting of rainwater predates 1989 thanks to 500 storage tanks being erected with the assistance of IDRC of Canada inside the Capiz Province. In fact, rainwater collection of this magnitude dates back to 10th century Asia where collection on a much smaller scale took place atop roofs. Today, technology allows ‘off-grid’ living to streamline with digitized rainwater collectors feeding pipes that lead into one’s dwelling.
Is rainwater harvesting a potentially endless cash flow for anyone willing to invest? It’s mighty tempting to find out.
Cashing in on precipitation
The advent of rainforest harvesting means fewer expenditures are used during dry times of the year since collection vessels hold months of water at a time – great for businesses interested in collecting and disbursing water in mass quantities. This means that water for irrigation, domestic and business use is readily available without city, county or state-supplied water lines. Overall, effective rainwater collection is advantageous in many ways, namely due to its reduction of existing water demand, which in turn can reduce run-off, contamination of surface water and even erosion.
The practicability and effectiveness of rainwater harvesting within any single location, or entire country, is inclusive of the precipitous periods of the year, along with its intensity. Size of catchment, the area where the catchment is located in relation to the dwelling and other non-weather variables are moot when setting up collection vessels. Although technology does provide methods of metering usage, and catchments provide the year-round storage, many believe harvesting is only an effective short-term water solution. When done in large amounts, however, one cannot help but dream of skyrocketing ROIs.
Will NGOs buy into it?
Rural water supplies are dwindling, ecologists want pollutant free drinking water and NGOs are pushing for more widely available surface water resources. One solution may entail ramping up wastewater treatment procedures atop the rainwater collection efforts to have one well-rounded solution that suits EPA, consumer and businesses alike. Australia, known for its relatively precipitous regions spanning the continent, works diligently in unison to provide businesses and consumers cleaner water supplies. Catching up with water sustainability specialists Cleanawater, we learned their angle on the rainwater harvesting solutions is congruent with NGO expectations without unnecessary price hikes to ‘cash in’ on Mother Nature.
Interestingly, rainwater harvesting and its ensuing technological advances are expected to grow even faster in the coming years with the increase in water supply demands. This means job opportunities for employees seeking careers in a new agri-tech industry – which also means investments may reach fruition much quicker than more common financial instruments like stocks. However, rainwater collection ‘farms’ are only part of the equation—technicians and workers will be needed in factories and offices to design and manufacture the system components, meaning education will be needed to properly train technicians and engineers. And right there on the front lines will be investors waiting to pay big bucks to workers that can harvest bigger returns.
Financial implications of rainwater harvesting
If you went out onto the street and polled 500 people about what they were interested in, it is a safe bet that finance industry, in some form, would be right at the top of their lists. Although investors like US Ecology see potentially lucrative payoffs where rainwater collection is concerned, is working this diligently to mitigate solutions for rainwater collection worthy when our cities keep expanding outward into barren lands? Should technology continue to develop catchments that help meter usage and protect all which you’ve collected?
These questions, and many more, burden ecologists and financiers as they survey some of the Earth’s more agriculturally wounded areas to determine where, when and how forward thinking collection of runoff water can be effective in various climates where water seems to be the scarcest. At the same time, handfuls of savvy investors are willing to risk huge financial losses to see whether rainwater harvesting really provides residual earnings.