Stand Alone Rainwater Harvesting System
The ROI of RWH in the USA
Posted on June 9th, 2010

We admit the return on investment on a rainwater harvesting system is not great. As long as water remains cheap and subsidized by municipalities it is hard to convince homeowners to purchase an RWH system strictly on the water savings benefits (they can still be sold on water conservation however). In most places in the US, a gallon of water costs around $.01 meaning a system that produces 500-1,000 gallons per year (such as your typical rain barrel when emptied regularly) would only save $5-$10 per year. In other words, a rain barrel at $100 would take 10-20 years to pay off.

But new research from Circle of Blue shows that this in not the case in all cities. In Atlanta for example, water can cost up to $.025 per gallon. This would grow the water savings of a rain barrel to $12.5- $25 per year making the breakeven point occur in as little as 4 years. Other expensive cities for water include Seattle, Boston, San Francisco, and Santa Fe. We suspect that many more cities will join this list as municipalities increasingly start to pass the real costs of water on to the consumer.

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