strong>Not withstanding the substantial investment which Ireland has placed in upgrading the national water infrastructure, water losses are still evident in many parts of the country.
The specifics of this proposed charge will require households who obtain their water supply from a local authority to incur a payment for the amount of water used which is in excess of the predetermined free threshold.
In order to minimise the amount of the charge incurred, households will be required to reduce their water usage from the local authority supply. An effective way of achieving this reduction is through the implementation of alternative water supply sources.
Rainwater harvesting consists of collecting rainwater from the external surfaces of buildings and hard-surface areas and diverting it via a filter system to a storage cistern or system. It is then pumped directly to the services using the reclaimed water or to a tank to feed by gravity to the system.
This recovered water, without treatment, can be used for toilet flushing, car washing and garden washing and thus alleviates the requirements placed upon the local authority water supply. According to studies conducted in the UK and Ireland, using rainwater for flushing toilets alone can derive household savings of up to 50%.
The Government's commitment to the installation of rainwater harvesting systems was reiterated in February 2011, when it was announced that an €8 million grant was being made available for the installation of rainwater harvesting systems on farms. This grant will be limited to 40% of the total cost (up to a maximum grant level) and can only be availed of by farmers. Application forms for the grant will be available on www.argriculture.gov.ie from 1st March 2011.
Research conducted into rainwater harvesting in Germany indicated that 35% of buildings built in 2005 were equipped with rainwater harvesting systems. Furthermore, approximately 5000 jobs have been created from the German rainwater harvesting industry, which has a turnover of approximately €340 million (Source: Ciaran Cannon, January 2010).
It is envisaged that this industry could reap similar benefits for Ireland, whereby the rainwater harvesting systems could not only alleviate the water shortage problems currently experienced by this country but it also has the potential to create new jobs.
The importance of these collection systems has not gone unnoticed by leading building companies who have called on the government to make rainwater harvesting compulsory for all new building projects.
The aim of Chevron Training's Rainwater Harvesting course is to provide participants with the relevant knowledge to select the most appropriate Rainwater Harvesting system and to install and maintain a Rainwater Harvesting system. The course also demonstrates the feasibility of rainwater harvesting systems.