South African homeowners have been in something of a quandary when it comes to keeping and maintaining their swimming pools. Water – or rather – the lack of it means that our home pools may appear to be a luxury that the country can ill-afford. Thankfully rainwater harvesting systems are becoming more popular as we become more environmentally aware, which allows us to use this rainwater for our pools.

However, with rainwater coming off the (dirty) roof and being stored in a large tank, is this water safe for the pool? Will it not just bring along a host of algae, bacteria and other critters when we use it to top up our pride and joy?

Well, that depends.

Let’s Talk Tanks

Most rainwater storage tanks are made from hardwearing polyethylene which makes them safe for storing (and drinking) water. However, are we going to see a crazy growth of algae in this stored water?

Algae – like any plant – will only grow in the presence of sunlight. So, a totally opaque tank is a must, with every entrance and exit safely sealed from dirt and light. No light equals no algae, which means that using this stored rainwater for your pool is totally fine.

It’s important to check that you have the right screens in place which will filter out any debris before it gets into your tank. It’s also worth checking the material that your roof is made of so that no hidden toxins leach from the roof into the stored water.

The Many Uses of Stored Rainwater

Topping up your pool may be a priority for you if you are considering investing in a rainwater harvesting system, but you’ll find so many other uses for this system once it’s been installed.

Wash your car, water your garden, top up your pond, clean your drive and paths, use it for flushing toilets or doing washing or pipe it into your dishwasher. Once you’re off the grid, so to speak, the escalating municipal costs are no longer an issue.

In fact, rainwater has an added advantage of being naturally “soft” water, being completely free from chemicals or sediment, which makes it better for your pool, your garden and your health.