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With water shortages reported across the globe – we are increasingly becoming aware of the fragility of this planet’s future and our place within it. We have huge quantities of water on the ‘blue planet’, yet only 2% of it fresh water. We have a growing population, set to hit 9 billion by 2042. Not unreasonably, they will all want drinking water, bathing water, better food and a better quality of life – all of which demand more high quality water.

So first of all let’s ask the fundamental question – why do we want to ‘harvest’ rainwater? The answer. Because it’s free and with the changing weather patterns it often arrives in huge quantities that sees much of it wasted as it makes its way into the river network or worse, it results in floods that can damage crops and cause soil erosion – neither of which are helpful to a world that needs more food and more land to grow it on.

We currently collectively participate in a major waste of expensive, cleaned water. For years, here in the UK we have happily ‘polished’ the water supply before flushing it down the toilet. Do we need to use potable – drinkable water to flush our toilets, to wash our cars, to water our gardens? The answer is no.

Rainwater is in the main clean and an excellent source of water for those tasks that don’t involve drinking, cooking and personal hygiene. It would make huge sense is if all homes and businesses had two sources of water – one for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene and another for flushing toilets and washing cars and arguably our clothes too. That might happen in time but in the meantime, many people are looking at the option of voluntarily harvesting the rainwater that falls on their roofs, that then makes its way through a mesh filter, into a holding tank, usually underground, before pumping it from that tank to be used in a number of non-potable applications. This can clearly reduce the demand on the potable water supply provided by the water companies and it can reduce water costs – particularly if you have a metered water supply.

Across the world, rainwater harvesting technology is being considered much earlier in the planning and construction process. There’s no problem adding rainwater harvesting technology to an existing building, but if it’s planned into a new building as part of the construction process, it clearly makes storage of rainwater and distribution of that rainwater to the required outlets in the building far simpler.

Leading pump manufacturer Wilo has been offering rainwater harvesting solutions to its customers for many years. An excellent recent example of the technology in action is in Northern Ireland – a part of the world that gets its fair share of rain of course!

The stunning new Belfast Metropolitan College project at the Titanic Quarter is an exciting one with which to be associated. Wilo has developed an enviable record across Northern Ireland for the quality of its products and the expertise it can share with its customers, and it was pleased to be able to play a major part in this landmark project.

Wilo was selected to supply the project’s pumping hardware for contractors the Harvey Group after a competitive pitch, through merchant, BSS in Belfast. Wilo was proud to supply all the key pumps for the project including those for the heating and air conditioning systems, the potable water pressure boosters and a rainwater harvesting system that ensures the toilets flush throughout the building, utilising the huge quantities of rainwater that are captured from the roof of the building, stored underground in collection tanks and pumped around the building to save using expensive drinking water to flush the loos.

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