France/Aube commune finances the purchase of rainwater harvesters

Published on 29/11/2023 | La rédaction


Saving money while preserving water resources - that's the appeal of rainwater harvesters, which are becoming increasingly popular. In the Aube region, the commune of Romilly-sur-Seine subsidizes the purchase of this environmentally-friendly tool by up to 50%.

Water is a precious resource. Awareness of this fact is growing, with sales of rainwater harvesters on the increase. In the Aube region, the commune of Romilly-sur-Seine has decided to encourage residents to take the plunge by offering a 50% subsidy on the purchase of rainwater harvesters. "This environmentally-friendly gesture saves water resources and money, and offers an ecological and free alternative solution. Rainwater harvesting also reduces the risk of saturation of wastewater treatment plants," explains Mayor Éric Vuillemin.

According to initial calculations, if even 10% of the population were to equip themselves with a water collector and use onlyand only 50% used it, this would potentially save the equivalent of two weeks' water consumption in Romilly. "It's an important sustainable development measure," says the town councillor.

A water recovery system, yes, but not just any system

Initially, the subsidy was 30%, but Romilly decided to increase it to 50%, as the scheme had not had the desired effect. For the time being, the subsidy is available until June 30, 2024.

All building and home owners in the commune are eligible. However, to prevent the spread of mosquitoes, the purchase of uncovered skimmers is not subsidized. Open, stagnant pools of water are ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes. The choice of skimmers is not insignificant.

Which recuperator to choose?

Capacities range from a few dozen liters to several hundred, with the largest up to 60,000 liters. The latter are buried. The smaller ones are above-ground tanks - the so-called "aerial" system - and are simpler to install. For a 100 m2 home, a tank of between 1,200 and 2,500 liters is generally recommended.

Prices also vary considerably, from around €50 to €10,000 for in-ground reclaimers (around €800 for a 2,000-litre tank). They also vary according to use. For health reasons, these uses are regulated. Non-drinkable, it's mainly used for watering the garden or washing the car, for outdoor use. But for the most advanced versions, rainwater can be recycled for toilet flushing or washing machines. This means even greater savings.

What are the savings?

It's estimated that a water reclaimer can save 40% or even 50% on your annual water bill - which can add up to hundreds of euros. And this at a time when, according to the French Observatoire des services publics d'eau et d'assainissement, each inhabitant consumes 149 liters of drinking water per day in 2020. "I'm saving a lot of money because I no longer use tap water to water my plants," admits Marie-Hélène, from Aix-en-Othe in the Aube region of France, who has owned a water reclaimer for ten years. As well as being better for the plants than tap water, because it's less hard, it avoids emptying the water table. So it's also good for the environment.

It does, however, require a little maintenance. To protect the water contained in above-ground tanks, you need to maintain the container by cleaning the filtering collector, which is connected to the downspout, at least once a year. Depending on exposure and climatic conditions, you should also check the inside of the tank a few times a year to prevent the appearance of moss or algae. What's more, to avoid frost damage, remember to clean the collector before winter.

Regarding indoor water use, maintenance must be carried out at least every six months, with "the obligation to keep an up-to-date sanitary maintenance logbook", according to the prefecture, which specifies: "A technical officer from your town hall's drinking water network can check the equipment" to prevent contamination of the public drinking water network.


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