Collecting rainwater in large cisterns is one way to conserve precious resources but let's face it, not everyone has the space or funds for such a project. That's why I love these horizontal bladder systems that can go in underutilized areas like crawl spaces and below decks and porches. The Rainwater Pillow is made from durable, industrial strength and UV-resistant fabric that is commonly used by the military. The smallest size is 1,000 gallons (which is approximately 9' wide by 11' long by 2.5' tall) and can be customized up to 200,000 gallons!
So how does it work? The system operates the same as any rainwater cistern and comes with a filter, overflow and pump that can be tied into an irrigation system. Gravity pulls the rainwater from your gutters through a filter into a sealed 2"-3" pipe which leads to the pillow. While rainwater harvesting is ideal to water plants, the collected water can also be used for other non-potable uses like pool-filling, car washing, toilet flushing, etc. Approved potable systems are also available.
Although they could also be used for new construction, the product is a great solution for renovations, where homeowners may not have the option to do above or below grade barrels. (I also love the idea of turning a dingy and dark crawl space into a water collector!) The company highlights their product's efficiency as well, citing that you would need 20 rain barrels to hold the same amount of water as a single, standard size Rainwater Pillow! In addition to saving space and money, the horizontal collection system also eliminates the issues surrounding algae and mosquitoes.
(Image: Rainwater Pillow)