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Use Rain Barrels to Save Water!

Jul 29, 2022
a rain barrel under a gutter spout, beside a purple flowering plant

Photo by Waldemar Brandt on Unsplash

by Christine Muller

With climate change worsening heatwaves and droughts, we need to conserve water. Depending on the region, homeowners use between 30 to 70 percent of their water outdoors, according to the United States Environmental protection Agency (EPA).

You can capture rain from the roof of your house by installing rain barrels. On average, a half inch rainfall will fill a 50 to 55 gallon barrel. You can use the water for your plants as well as for cleaning garden equipment and tools. All you need to do is to shorten the downspout of your gutter and put the rain barrel below to harvest the water. You may like to have two or more rain barrels depending on your water use.

There are many benefits to rain barrels:

* They save drinking water resources and reduce the pressure on municipal sources during a drought.

* During a storm, rain barrels help prevent flooding, first by catching water until they are full, and then with their ability to divert water away from your house with a hose.

* They reduce stormwater runoff and non-point source pollution such as soil, lawn fertilizers, pesticides, trash, animal waste, road salts, and chemicals.

* Rainwater is generally softer than tap water and does not contain chlorine, so it is healthier for your plants.

* They save you money.

When installing a rain barrel, follow its accompanying instructions. When you create your own barrel, follow the instructions in Rain Barrels – A Home Owners Guide.

Sources: Penn State Extension: Why Use a Rain Barrel? (video/article), and Rain Barrels – A Home Owners Guide (PDF)


Christine Muller, Teacher of Music and the Environment

Board Secretary, International Environment Forum

I was interested in environmental issues already at a young age and became a Bahá’í when I was 17, which was the beginning of a life-long study of the Bahá’í Faith. As the environmental crisis was worsening, I began to systematically study climate change at a time when not much information was easily available. I also searched the Bahá’í teachings for a spiritual solution to the climate crisis. At that time, climate change was not known to most people and there were no educational materials available. That’s why I wrote Scientific and Spiritual Dimensions of Climate Change – an Interfaith Study Course, which the International Environment Forum posted in 2009. I joined the Wilmette Institute as support faculty for its Sustainable Development course in 2011 and created its Climate Change course the following year. I also teach a course on climate change for the Environmental Sciences Department of the Baha’i Institute of Higher Education (BIHE) in Iran. I have served on the board of RI Interfaith Power&Light for more than a decade. In recent years, much of my time is spent serving the Bahá’í-inspired International Environment Forum ( as its secretary.  My formal academic background is in music, and I enjoy part-time piano teaching, playing and - when there is time - composing music. A recent composition is Humans on Earth – a Ballad of Our Time for two singers, string orchestra, piano, and percussion. Its lyrics include quotations from scientific sources and the Bahá’í Writings. Christine’s articles on BahaiTeachings.orgSee Faculty Bio


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