In the United States during the summer, up to 40% of all household water use goes towards watering lawns and gardens. This not only increases water bills for homeowners, it also depletes valuable freshwater resources, especially in arid and semi-arid regions such as the Southwest and California.
You can save money and conserve water with a rainwater collection system. The simplest way to collect rainwater for use in the garden is a rain barrel connected to the downspout of your roof. A single inch of rain falling on a 1000 square foot roof produces 600 gallons of runoff. This water would otherwise run off into your yard or local sewer system, potentially contributing to erosion, drainage problems, or flooding. When collected in a rain barrel, it provides a free source of fresh water for your garden instead.
Though untreated rainwater is not safe to drink, it is generally better for plants than tapwater because it has not been treated with chlorine or other chemicals commonly found in municipal water supplies.
Recycle The Rain With These Eco-Friendly Rain Barrels
For an inexpensive, lightweight starter barrel, consider Gaiam’s Pop-Up Rain Barrel. Made from puncture-resistant polyester, the barrel has a mesh top that keeps out bugs and debris, a downspout diverter valve and hose, and a pre-installed nozzle. It stores up to 60 gallons of rainwater.
The Prairie Rain Harvester Barrel is made from recycled food-grade barrels and holds up to 55 gallons of stored rainwater. The barrels have a closed-top design to prevent children, pets, or wildlife from falling in and includes a mesh screen to prevent mosquitoes and debris from reaching the water, an overflow hose, and high quality rubber fittings to prevent leaks. The barrel is UV and algae resistant for longer life. Artistic homeowners enjoy decorating the smooth surface of the barrel to give it a personalized touch.
If you prefer a more traditional look, the Barrel Depot Rain Barrel is a beautiful rain barrel crafted from a reclaimed wine barrel. Made from solid American or French oak and outfitted with stylish brass trimmings, these handsome rain barrels hold approximately 55-59 gallons. Each barrel is unique due to the one-of-a-kind pattern of markings and wine stains.
One of the most unique rain barrels to be developed in recent years is the Compost Wizard Hybrid Rain Barrel/Composter. This clever, space-saving design incorporates a 47 gallon rain barrel with a 7 cubic foot compost tumbler so you can save water and make great soil at the same time! As you turn the compost, excess liquid is squeezed out and flows into the rain barrel, where it mixes with the stored rainwater to create a nutrient-rich liquid soil amendment called compost tea.
For the serious rainwater harvester, consider a professional rainwater catchment system such as Rainwater HOG. Developed in Australia, one of the leading sources of innovative rainwater catchment technologies, the Rainwater HOG is a system of modular rainwater catchment and storage tanks that are designed to fit easily into small and unused spaces, such as under decks or along alleyways. Rainwater HOGs can also be incorporated into building structures to create thermal mass and help reduce heating and cooling bills! Each individual tank holds up to 51 gallons, but the tanks can be easily linked to create additional storage space. The largest installation to date was 114 HOGs with a capacity of 5,700 gallons!
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