Advantages and Disadvantages of Ground Water Harvesting

Ground water harvesting has become more prolific in recent years, due mostly to a public push toward conservation and green living. Ground water harvesting is most commonly found in regions of the country where water is scarce or polluted, or where a family lives in a rugged terrain lacking a dense population. It can also be advantageous in areas regularly affected by flooding and earthquakes, or where electricity and water bills are regularly rising in cost.

Waterfall in forest, tree roots in foreground
credit: Thomas Northcut/Stockbyte/Getty Images
The catchment of fresh rain water can equal big savings.

Practical Advantages to Ground Water Harvesting

Advantages of ground water harvesting are plentiful, and many can be considered practicalities. First, ground water harvesting is not subject to any type of public regulation, including outside utility control or pipeline interruptions that may occur due to natural disasters. Even when the power goes out, your resources will not be affected. Since many ground water harvesters live in rural areas, the process also is helpful in dealing with issues unique to such a lifestyle. These include reduction of mosquito population in damp breeding grounds and immediate availability to water if a fire needs to be put out. It also is able to naturally cool buildings and can add health benefits to those with compromised immunity.

Advantages In Quality

The quality of harvested water cannot be beat. It is collected in its pure, natural form, which makes it free of chemicals often found in city ordinance water. It is also free to the harvesters, reducing monthly costs with the elimination of a water bill. It is also sustainable and naturally soft due to an absence of dissolved minerals and common urban contaminants


One distinct disadvantage to harvesting ground water is the effort it takes to do so. A specific protocol must be followed to keep water safe, clean and convenient. These include designating a catchment area (usually a rooftop) to collect the rain, and then organizing pipes or channels to route the water from the roof into ground level storage containers. Your roof also will need a diversion system to keep the water pure and access to filtration so natural light is able to purify it fully.

Making the Choice

Further disadvantages depend upon the region. If you live in an area that is very rainy on a regular basis, your ground water catchment is fairly simple and straightforward. However, in much of the country, rainy seasons are much more unpredictable, leaving residents without an ample supply of water at times. Researching the chemicals currently found in local water, as well as gleaning advice from neighbors and companies specializing in rainwater catchment in your area can help you make an informed decision as to whether or not a ground water system will outweigh the disadvantages for you.