A rain barrel preserves water by collecting the rain from a home’s downspout. Typically, rain barrels hold between 50-55 gallons of water and are made from recycled plastics or re-purposed food-grade containers. They are fitted with special screens to prevent insects, like mosquitoes, from using the standing water to breed.
So, what’s so special about these barrels?
- They reduce stormwater runoff. Impervious surfaces, like roofs and driveways, don’t absorb stormwater. Instead, the water flows downhill, where it picks up pollutants like fertilizers, oil from cars, and other harmful substances, on its way to streams and rivers. If every GSWA member installed a rain barrel, approximately 93,500 gallons of water would be conserved every time it rained.
- They save you money. Why waste perfectly good drinking water to water your garden or wash your car? Using this free water source, especially on bigger projects like lawn care, will help to reduce your bills.
- Plants prefer it. Plants prefer natural rainwater to tap water because it is free of salts and highly oxygenated. By using a rain barrel for watering, plants and soil will be healthier and happier. Some plants – like Hydrangeas, even change color when exposed to salt!
How can you get one?
Rain barrels come in all shapes and sizes, and you can buy them at all of the major home improvement stores. You can also make your own, and if you act fast, you can join GSWA and Green Mojo Eco Consulting at our rain barrel building workshop March 15!