Backyard Conservation: Rain Barrels
During the summer months, significant increases are seen in daily water consumption rates. Much of that increased water usage is
directed at lawns in the form of irrigation. This increased water usage can drain local water supplies, put strains on water
infrastructure, and cause safety issues when municipalities are not able to keep enough water in reserve for emergencies such as
Rain Barrels also cut down on the amount of runoff from your yard. Rain barrels not only catch the rainwater and put it to good
use; they prevent harmful effects of excess runoff such as erosion or sediment and pollutant transport to downstream lakes,
rivers, or wetlands.
Collecting water in a rain barrel is a form of rainwater harvesting that can be done within your own yard. A rain barrel is
simply a container that captures storm water runoff and temporarily holds the water until needed. A quarter inch rainfall on
the average house yields over 200 gallons of water. The most common place to install a rain barrel is under a downspout and a
spigot and hose can be attached to the rain barrel for watering use. Water from a rain barrel is better for watering plants
because it contains no chlorine and is softer than tap water.