Rainwater Harvesting Systems Overview

Thinking about helping commercial clients with rainwater capture and reuse? Work with SiteOne’s Green Tech team today.

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Rainwater harvesting is the collection and storage of rainwater for reuse. This method has been around for ages, and was likely a key in agriculture development with the use of cisterns. Crete and Israel used cisterns in 2500 B.C., and this spread to the Roman Empire and beyond.

You can capture rainwater for use in landscape irrigation. There are rain barrel systems for small gardens, collected from gutters and downspouts of the home. For larger commercial projects, consider capture, storage, and reuse systems through landscape accents like retention ponds.

Rainwater is what falls from the sky, while stormwater is rainwater or melted snow that runs offsite and is absorbed into soil. If you have stormwater problems, check out our ponding and erosion solutions and runoff tools articles.


Rainwater harvesting conserves water. This creates less stormwater runoff, so there is less pollution. It lowers freshwater resource demands and slows erosion in dry environments. It can also reduce flooding in low-lying areas.

Use Cases

Rain barrels are typically used for delicate and sensitive plants in smaller areas. Residential rainwater harvesting systems are expensive as they are much more intricate, so water capture, storage, and reuse systems are a better option for larger scale commercial jobs.

Commercial systems are more easily incorporated into landscapes that have private ponds or the space for large tanks. Areas like parking lots with roofs or lots with small islands of grass, such as retail spaces, college campuses, schools, and residential development green spaces benefit greatly from rainwater harvesting since rainwater capture can be optimized.

Rainwater capture is also a relatively easy and inexpensive way to earn additional Leadership in Energy and Design (LEED) points, which provide the developer with tax credits, zoning considerations, and in some instances, express permitting. Check with your local municipal regulations to see if your area offers any benefits for rainwater harvesting.

SiteOne’s Green Tech team can help you build out a rainwater harvesting system. The team also offers stormwater mitigation systems, or re-irrigation systems, to help dispose of excess runoff. Many regulatory authorities will not allow commercial developments to have stormwater runoff. The water is captured in a retention pond or cistern and then later disbursed over a vegetated area sometime after the rain event has ended.

SiteOne is Here to Help, Rain or Shine

Whatever system your client chooses, SiteOne Green Tech can help you build out the job and support you every step of the way, from system sizing, specifications, and calculations to on-site technical support. If you have any questions on what kind of system to recommend or about supplies for the job, contact the Green Tech team here.

For more drainage educational resources, check out our drainage demand page.

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SiteOne Content Team

November 7, 2022


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