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Water is probably the most precious commodity we have on this planet and there’s plenty of it. Sadly, less than 2% of what we have is fresh water. We need it for the basic necessities of everyday life – we drink it, we need it to maintain good hygiene, its required for the manufacture of most of our food and for pretty much every key product in our everyday lives. There is no alternative.

Here in the UK, as a result of global warming, we are seeing changes to rainfall patterns. We’re getting our rainfall in longer heavier bursts than before and as a result we have seen huge quantities of rainfall causing flooding as the rainwater infrastructure has been unable to cope with it, before those vast quantities of valuable water eventually disappears as run off, into rivers and out to sea.

Polypipe Building Products has launched a range of new solutions into the burgeoning rainwater harvesting marketplace, targeted specifically at the domestic and residential market, in response to the growing acceptance that the time has come to stop using high quality drinking water to flush down the toilet, wash our cars and water the garden.

It simply makes no sense to use drinking quality water at a time when water is becoming a scarcer commodity, with growing demand for potable water – particularly in London and the south east as the population grows, but ironically, whilst we’re seeing heavier rainfall in parts if the UK, equally on the East Coast of the UK, rainfall has in places and at times during the year dropped to an alarming level – in particular across East Anglia. With forecasts suggesting that the south coast could be experiencing a Mediterranean climate by 2050 – some suggesting this could arrive much earlier – water could become a very expensive commodity and any help available from naturally occurring sources of water will be met with open arms. The UK’s position as an island, with prevailing winds for much of the time heading at us from the south west across the Atlantic Ocean – and a warm current into the bargain – does give us a number of benefits and Polypipe is one company that believes that preparing now, by conserving precious rainwater supplies, would not be a moment too soon to take rainwater harvesting seriously.

So it is. Polypipe, the UK’s leading building products company, has launched Rainstream – a new range of rainwater harvesting options designed for everyone – with three straightforward options. Ideal for new build, for retrofit and already seeing major interest from the self build marketplace, Rainstream is a very simple straightforward rainwater harvesting ‘package’. You can even see it on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=NS0RnXF_5pM .

The Rainstream system is available as a gravity fed or a pressurised system. Within a gravity fed system, water is pumped from the Rainstream Tank to a header tank in the loft. The water is then fed to each appliance by gravity. Pressurised systems uses a pump to feed water directly to the appliance or appliances on demand. The units come pre-assembled ready for installation – you can select from a wide range of tank sizes to meet your specific needs – and the rainwater harvested by the system goes through a three stage filtration process, down to 130 microns. Installation of a Rainstream system from Polypipe will reduce your mains water usage by around 50% and that’s not to be sniffed at – especially if you’re on a metered water supply. The control panel is small and neat and the only evidence you’ll see in the house of having a rainwater harvesting system on the property.

The options for Rainstream run from Rainstream Garden which is a basic unit that has a 1500 litre tank capacity and offers a leaf filter, a calmed inlet, skimmed overflow, silt trap, storage tank, pump and timed delay activation switch. Typically this system will supply rainwater to a garden tap, greenhouse sprinkle system or a garden irrigation system.

Next step up is the Polypipe Rainstream Home, which offers a one piece rotomoulded tank with a single turret, housing the leaf filter, overflow and calmed inlet. Storage capacities for this system range from 2000 to 5000 litres and come with a wall mounted pump pack to complete the system. This system doesn’t need a header tank. Instead, an electronic control system monitors the demand for water and pumps it directly from the main storage tank to the appropriate outlet. The control system also measures the water level in the main storage tank and imports fresh water if required to prevent the system from running dry. Where the optional ground water inlet valves with filters are selected and fitted, there is no requirement for a concrete bed or surround. These valves allow ground water from a rising water table to enter the storage area of the tank, equalising the hydrostatic pressures on internal and external surfaces, preventing tank collapse or flotation. This is not found on any other system and is a unique feature of Polypipe’s Rainstream Home system.

As a third option, Polypipe offers the Rainstream Home XL. The structured wall design of Rainstream Home XL has created a system that is unique in its ability to withstand a high water table. The key benefit of Rainstream Home XL is that it will never need a concrete surround in non-loaded applications, even in cases of a high water table. All that is needed is a concrete base which the tanks are strapped to. It provides a simple solution to the complex problem of rising water tables and changing weather patterns. As most systems are installed during the summer months, when water tables are at their lowest, the resulting winter rising water table is often not taken into account. Some systems are not designed to be installed within the water table and are unable to withstand the hydrostatic pressures, resulting in their collapse. Rainstream Home XL has been designed by Civil Engineers to withstand these hydrostatic pressures. Further testing has taken place proving the tank's capability to withstand water pressure at a burial depth of up to 6 metres or 0.6 bar, far beyond the pressures the tank is likely to face. The range of tank sizes offered by Polypipe has been researched and designed to meet the exact requirements of the UK market, based on research into the national average household water use and the most up-to-date MET office data. The Rainstream Home XL tanks allow the homeowner to meet their exact requirements and provide the most cost-effective and efficient solution in the market, without the need to over-specify and incur disproportionate purchasing and installation costs. If increased capacity is needed, Rainstream Home XL offers a wide range of tank sizes to ensure rainwater collection is maximised effectively.

For more information click on to www.polypipe.com or call 01709 770 000 and request a copy of the new Rainwater Harvesting products leaflet and price list.

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