SARAH WARD – RAINSHARE
ainShare is a social enterprise, led by Dr Sarah Ward, which has been set up in Devon to help different people (homeowners, businesses, those who manage community facilities) share harvested rainwater (roof-runoff) between properties.
The first RainShare pilot demonstration project, ‘RainShare St James’ in Exeter, was a retrofit project between householders and nearby allotment holders who agreed to share roof-runoff to water the allotments (via down-pipes, storage tanks and a common access point). The allotments did not have a mains water supply, so this helped them boost their growing during the dryer months of the year.
Challenging conventional ways of sharing and trading runoff, RainShare also aims to reconnect communities with water through the highlighting of everyday practices that don’t need potable (mains) tap water – like irrigating gardens and allotments, flushing toilets and washing cars.
Ahead of the curve in terms of where rainwater management in the UK currently is, RainShare is currently collecting data from the pilot installation, which will help prove the business case for further schemes – essential for getting to the early-adopting 1% who will immediately benefit from RainShare’s services.
WHY SHOULD PEOPLE RAINSHARE?
RainShare is a way of helping communities re-engage with and manage the water they generate and use: should high quality drinking water be used for everything (like watering plants or toilet flushing)? Switching mains water for roof-runoff helps save potable-quality water.
Also, roofs generate runoff, which if not attenuated or utilised locally can enter sewers in a big peak volume. Using the runoff locally keeps water out of sewers for longer and slows the peak, helping maintain the capacity of sewers (which can be costly to expand/replace) and potentially helping alleviate localised flooding.