Earth Day Design: the RainXchange rainwater harvesting system

Earth Day provides us with an opportunity to both reflect and act on our desire to use the planet’s resources in a sustainable manner. As we’ve noted in numerous posts, water may be the one resource we should focus on more, individually and collectively. No doubt, many of you have water-saving activities planned; a few of you may already be at work installing low-flow shower heads, faucet aerators, or even rain barrels.

Rain water harvesting makes a lot of sense: the initial investment can be quite low (especially if you do it yourself), and your plants love rain water.  Unfortunately, as Rachelle Carson Begley once noted, an awful lot of commercially-available rain barrels are, well, ugly.

Illinois-based company Aquascape has developed a solution to rain barrel eyesore — its RainXchange system. Rather than a barrel attached to a downspout, RainXchange is a modified cistern with a filtering mechanism. That all gets buried; you and visitors see an attractive water feature. And, you can connect a hose to a spigot, and shower your plants with fresh, bacteria-free rainwater. The system doesn’t require much space: a local contractor told me a 6′x6′ area will work fine. No doubt this costs more than traditional systems, but if you’re just not feeling the whole plastic barrel look, it’s an option.

Know of other systems that make rainwater harvesting more aesthetically pleasing? Let us know in the comments… and Happy Earth Day!

Image courtesy of Aquascape.