The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
One of the easiest and most cost effective methods for conserving water and improving water quality is to INSTALL A RAIN BARREL. Rain barrels collect water from rooftops and hold it for later use. The water can then be reused for a variety of watering needs – lawns, gardens or even indoor plants. Collecting roof runoff in rain barrels reduces the amount of water that flows from your property. It’s a great way to conserve water and it’s free water for use in your landscape. Cisterns are also used to “harvest” rain water. With a greater storage capacity they may be located above or below ground.
Rain barrels provide an eco-friendly opportunity to repurpose rain water while helping you to conserve water and save money. Exercise some common sense caution and remember that water collected by rain barrels should never be used for drinking, cooking or bathing (that applies to your pets as well). Rain barrel lids should also be tightly secured or screened to keep debris and mosquitoes out. Secure rain barrels to also protect children and pets from falling in. Overflow valves should always direct water away from structures to prevent water damage to homes or sheds. In addition, to reduce risk of falls and injury, you should be certain that water is not directed toward sidewalks, driveways or other areas where foot traffic is common. Before the arrival of winter, be sure to disconnect the rain barrel from downspouts to prevent the formation of ice.
Another point to consider: as rain water flows over a roof surface it can pick up pollutants such as bacteria from birds and other animals, and chemicals from roof materials – factors to consider when thinking about using rain barrel water on edible plantings.
Advantages of Using a Rain Barrel:
- Capture a valuable resource that would otherwise be lost to storm drains
- Divert stormwater back to the landscape
- Conserve tap water and energy use
- Lower your water and utility bills
- Installing a rain barrel is also an easy way to make your home environmentally friendly
Rain barrels hold about 40-75 gallons of water and can pay for themselves in one season.