There are several appealing aspects to the rain barrel that makes the prospect of owning one a very pleasing and prosperous investment. The first and foremost that directly reflects the state of our environment is the consistency of droughts, especially in places hard hit such as California (in the dry summer seasons) where the possibility of water limitations and higher cost for usage could be a reality.
When you make the decision to begin using a rain barrel, you’ll station it at one of the downspouts of your home or business. When the rain falls on your roof and runs into your gutters, a downspout diverter directs the rain through a screen and into the barrel. You then have a source of natural, chemical free water to use when caring for your plants. Collecting water in rain barrels is certainly not a new idea. People have collected rainwater and used it to water gardens and irrigate crops almost since the beginning of time. Over the course of the last few decades, however, most people have chosen to rely solely on their municipal water systems, without considering the cost or the ecological impact. Storing rainwater in rain barrels lowers water bills and reduces storm water runoff. Storm water runoff carries pesticides, grease, oil, and other toxins into our waterways and contributes to erosion, eating away valuable land. Using a rain barrel is one conservation measure that is being encouraged by many municipalities and environmentalists.
Whether you opt to build your own rain barrel or decide to purchase one, there are certain things you need to keep in mind. Harvested rain water does have its safety precautions. It is important that your rain barrel be child safe and mosquito proof. Many of today’s rain barrels are fully screened with a lid that you can fasten securely for child safety, to keep debris out of the water, and prevent swarms of mosquitoes from breeding. In order to prevent algae, a rain barrel should be made of a dark material that does not allow the penetration of sunlight. Be certain that the material is non-toxic. If you’re making your own rain barrel, make sure that you know the history of the barrel. The best rain barrels will feature a metal spout near the bottom of the barrel so it is easy to access the collected water. Make sure you place the rain barrel on a level surface and secure it to prevent tipping. A well-designed rain barrel will also have an overflow system that comes into play when the barrel is full. Point the overflow away from the foundation of the house to prevent water damage. While rain water is certainly drinkable, for safety reasons, it is not advised. Many cities require water drinking systems to be filtered, tested, and certified. Water that has been collected in rain barrels is not meant for consumption by humans or animals. The rain water passing through the gutters of the roof before it makes its way down into the barrel is contaminated and renders the water unsuitable for direct consumption. However, your landscaping, gardens and houseplants will thrive when you use this natural, untreated water to care for them.
The rain barrel is a nifty little invention that’s been in use for centuries, and only in recent years has their relevance become more pronounced. Costly water bills, global warming and water limitations have all made water savers more than just a gardening tool for a greener lifestyle. The great general idea about catching rain is knowing that you’re getting free water courtesy of Mother Nature. Using a rain barrel is a simple way to help conserve water and protect our rivers and streams. Even if you purchase your rain barrel, it will soon pay for itself by lowering your water bill. The fact that you’re taking one more step towards an eco-friendly lifestyle is a worthwhile and cost-efficient endeavor. Remember, it’s a series of little steps that helps us make giant strides towards protecting our planet.