pixinoo / Getty Images Rainwater harvesting is just what it sounds like — the collection of rain, as opposed to letting the water run off to be absorbed into the ground or channeled into drains, streams, or rivers. It is one of the easiest ways to conserve water at home while also lowering your bills. Whether it’s a custom-designed system or a simple rain barrel collection, harvesting rainwater is a smart and sustainable choice. While there are all kinds of modern rainwater catchment systems, collecting rain is an ancient practice, and anthropologists think that being able to capture and store water went hand-in-hand with the development of agriculture, especially in drier environments. Cisterns for storing rainwater have been found in communities as far back as Neolithic times, and by 2500 BC they could be found in what is now Israel and the Greek island of Crete, and later in the Roman Empire, Istanbul, and even Venice.1 Today, rainwater harvesting is used by individual landowners, towns, and cities for many of the same reasons it was used thousands of years ago: It can provide a source of clean freshwater in places where it might be scarce, only seasonally available, or […]

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