S'pore family sets up DIY rainwater collection system to make the most of rainy days

Saving up (water) on rainy days.

Nigel Chua | August 02, 2021, 02:48 PM

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[UPDATE on Aug. 16 at 9:40am: PUB has responded to queries from Mothership, stating that it does not regulate the use of homemade rainwater collection systems intended for personal use. This article has been updated with PUB's statement below.]

An above-normal level of rainfall in the second half of July may have caused some disappointment, as plans to head outdoors would likely have been cancelled.

One family in Singapore, however, found a way to make the most of the recent gloomy downpours, by setting up a rainwater collection system with household items and a few metres of PVC pipes.

A series of "how to" videos of the innovative setup were posted in a Facebook group on Aug. 1.

DIY rainwater collection system

The system was described as a "complete system with filter and three collection reservoirs".

It was set up at the family's laundry area, next to a toilet.

The videos show rainwater being caught with a plastic juice bottle which had been cut open and fastened to a PVC pipe.

Screenshot from video on Facebook.

The end of the pipe was then secured in place with two pieces of string.

Rainwater would flow through the juice bottle into the pipe, passing through a filter before being collected in a pail.

GIF from video on Facebook.

According to the post, the first pail was slightly tilted to allow it to overflow into a smaller blue basin, which would in turn overflow into a small red tub.

All three containers were filled in around half an hour, according to an update on the post.

Image via Facebook.

Another video in the post showed how to make the different components of the rainwater collection system, including how to cut the juice bottle:

Screenshot from video on Facebook.

And how to attach it to the pipe:

Screenshot from video on Facebook.

Comments on the post lauded the ingenious idea, with many saying that they would be keen to collect rainwater for themselves too.

Others contributed suggestions for further improvement to the system:

Along with an important safety tip:

Is it legal to collect rainwater in Singapore?

Like some other commenters on the post,  you might be wondering whether collecting rainwater with such a collection system is legal.

PUB, Singapore's national water agency, states on its website that alternate sources of water, such as rainwater harvesting, are regulated.

"The construction of rainwater collection systems for any purpose is regulated by Section 31 of the Sewerage and Drainage Act," says PUB's website.

Therefore, anyone who constructs "any works for taking or intercepting water from any place or sea, within the territorial limits of Singapore" must have approval to do so, according to the above-mentioned section of the Act.

Failure to get such approval constitutes an offence.

However, this would likely not apply to DIY setups like the one featured in the Facebook post.

This is because the section is intended to cover "works" in the context of construction or repair of a building, or relating to air-conditioning service and ventilation systems for a building.

PUB: Homemade rainwater collection systems not regulated, no fees or charges will be imposed

In response to queries from Mothership, PUB has made a statement on its Facebook page on Aug. 13, clarifying that it does not regulate the use of homemade rainwater collection systems intended for personal use.

"Also, we do not impose any fees or charges for such homemade systems," said the statement.


Top images from video and photo on Facebook