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)