Rain barrels collect roof runoff. Water collected in a rain barrel would normally flow through the downspout, onto a paved surface, into a storm drain, and into a nearby lake, river or wetland. Instead, rain barrels conserve water that can be used to water lawns and gardens.
More advantages of rain barrels are:
- Collect and direct rain water away from the foundation of your house.
- Reduce erosion and increase water quality.
- Reduce household watering needs by saving rain. Up to 40 percent of summer water is used for irrigation. Lower water bills.
- Water dry lawns and gardens during city-imposed watering bans.
- Recycling rain water reduces your personal energy consumption by using less treated water.
- Water your garden naturally with untreated water.
- Recharge groundwater.
- Provide water to landscaped areas that can't be reached by a hose.
The amount of runoff that rain barrels prevent varies depending on the capacity of the rain barrels, number of rain barrels, the amount of rainfall, and the roof surface area. In general, every inch of rain that falls on an impervious surface of 1,000 square feet creates approximately 600 gallons of runoff.
Lids make the barrels safe for households with children. A screen filter keeps debris and mosquitoes out of the rain barrel.
Place the rain barrel next to a building with a gutter downspout funneled into it to collect rain water. Use the water for irrigation within five days. Attach a soaker hose to the overflow valve. Attach another hose to the spigot for slow release of water or collect water into a watering can.
Learn how to build your own rain barrel.