If the drought conditions of 2012 taught the country anything, it is that water is a precious commodity. There is not an infinite supply, as the California hydropower industry is painfully learning. Therefore, it makes good sense to find ways to conserve water and use it more wisely. One simple way you can live a green lifestyle and save money is with a rain barrel.
What Is a Rain Barrel?
A rain barrel is just what you may think it is, simply, a barrel used to collect rainwater. For optimal collection, you can set the barrel at the end of the downspout of your house. You can find them at your local hardware store or home improvement center.
The barrel has a place to attach a hose. You will be using this water, after all, to irrigate your lawn and garden. A screen on the unit will keep out critters and insects as well as other debris that can foul the water.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates national outdoor water use at about 30 percent. During the summer, this figure may soar to 40 percent, depending upon your climate. The rainwater you collect on average will save you about 1,300 gallons of water.
The water is soft and free of chemicals, so there are no worries about using it in your garden. To make your task easier, you can place the rain barrel close to your garden for hassle-free use.
The water you collect is less water that comes from the municipal water supply. During times when water availability may be an issue, your rain barrel can help you maintain your garden without further draining water resources.
The water in your rain barrel also represents water that will not contribute to surface runoff. Water flow into streams and lakes can add contaminants and potentially affect water supply from areas that rely on surface water sources. You may also find that it prevents erosion near your home’s foundation, especially during heavy rainfall.
Installing a rain barrel is an easy task that can save you money, while helping to conserve water and protect the environment. The time and money your invest up front can save you hundreds of dollars down the road.