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Commonly used rainwater conservation systems consist of three principal components which are the catchment area, the collection devices, and the conveyance system. In the most basic form of this technology, rainwater is collected in simple vessels at the edge of the roof. As the rooftop is the main catchment area, the amount and quality of rainwater collected depends on the area and type of roofing material used. Rainwater conservation using ground surface catchment areas is less complex way of collecting rainwater. It involves improving runoff capacity of the land surface through various techniques including collection of runoff with drain pipes and storage of collected water.
Compared to rooftop catchment techniques, ground catchment techniques provide more opportunity for collecting water from a larger surface area. Storage tanks for collecting rainwater harvested using guttering may be either above or below the ground. Precautions required in the use of storage tanks include provision of an adequate enclosure to minimize contamination from human, animal or other environmental contaminants, and a tight cover to prevent algae growth or mosquitoes. Conveyance systems are required to transfer the rainwater collected on the rooftops to the storage tanks. This is usually accomplished by making connections to one or more down-pipes connected to the rooftop gutters. When selecting a conveyance system, consideration should be given to the fact that, when it first starts to rain, dirt and debris from the rooftop and gutters will be washed into the down-pipe. Thus, the relatively clean water will only be available some time later after the first rainfall .
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