Harvesting Rainwater

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Estimating your water needs is important if you are considering installing a rainwater harvesting system for your home. A quick look at your water usage (and the demand for it) provides a clear answer as to whether or not a rainwater harvesting system is right for you. 

However, from a practical perspective, I don’t know why you wouldn’t harvest rainwater.

We all think of the obvious when we think of our water usage, but let’s look a little farther. As you read this article you will notice a few, “Oh, yeah” moments of things that didn’t come to mind to consider when determining your water needs.

Water Usage

First, we need to determine the average use of your home. This is easily done by analyzing your water bill for a concise answer. However, this chart from the government gives you averages from across the country if that helps.

Typical water use at home per person


A "full tub" varies, of course, but 36 gallons is good average amount.

 Tip: Taking a shower instead of a bath should save a good bit of water.


Old showers used to use up to 5 gallons of water per minute. Water-saving shower heads produce about 2 gallons per minute.

 Tip: Taking a shorter shower using a low-flow showerhead saves lots of water.

Teeth brushing

1 gallon. Newer bath faucets use about 1 gallon per minute, whereas older models use over 2 gallons.

 Tip: Simply turn the faucet off when brushing teeth.