Your Rain Water Usage Guide

 Water is one of our greatest natural resources.  However, when it rains, most of the water ends up in storm drain systems where it has to be treated to be recycled.

But you can actually create systems to store and use rainwater where it will do the most good.  You can also save money and natural resources by following a rainwater usage plan for your household.

The Benefits of Storing and Using Rainwater

There are many reasons to store and use rainwater.  It benefits both you and the environment around you.  People have stored rainwater for thousands of years, so this isn’t a new idea.

It’s just become more popular in recent years as we’ve learned what a great benefit it can be.  Understanding more about these benefits can help you make the decision to begin using rainwater.

First, storing rainwater actually reduces flooding and erosion that can be caused by the downspout of your gutters.  This can help keep your yard looking great and prevent water from ending up in storage drain systems.

When you store and use rainwater, you can also save money.  Normally, you have to pay for the water that you use to irrigate your lawn or to wash your car.  But with stored rainwater, this becomes a free resource for you.

When you use rainwater to water your plants, you’ll actually provide them with better nutrition.  Rainwater is naturally full of minerals that are good for plants.  It’s also free from pollutants and chemicals found in tap water.

If you live in an area that can be prone to drought, storing rainwater can provide you with a water source during those dry times.  City water sometimes becomes restricted during drought conditions, but your rain barrels will be accessible to you.

When it comes to the environment, freshwater is an extremely limited resource.  Only 3% of the world’s water supply is able to be used for drinking and other home use.

Because water consumption is high in industrialized countries, natural sources of water are beginning to dry up.  Harvesting rainwater captures a renewable resource and prevents water from entering storm drainage systems where it can become contaminated. This is where your rainwater barrel come into play.

 

rain water barrel

Creating a Storage System for Rainwater

Collecting rainwater has become a popular way to conserve water in recent years.  That’s good news – because it’s made it possible to find many different systems for storing it.

One of the most popular and least expensive methods is using a rainwater barrel. Rain barrels are large containers that can collect rainwater from the gutters of your home.  They can be made from materials such as large trash cans or buckets.

You can also purchase commercial kits that you can put together easily designed specifically for storing rainwater.  Once you have a system in place, your bucket will begin to fill each time it rains.

With a rain barrel it’s important to make sure you take some safety precautions.  For example, the top needs to have a child and pet proof top that doesn’t allow small ones to fall in.

You also need to have a filter at the top that prevents debris from going into the barrel along with the rainwater.  If you find that this system works well for you, you can even add multiple barrels so that you don’t have any overflow during a rainy season.

Rain barrels typically have a tap at the bottom for you to remove the water.  Some of them allow you to attach a standard garden hose so that you can use the water directly in your yard.

Always make sure that any material you use for your rain barrel is food grade.  This means it won’t leach harmful chemicals into the water and the water will be safe to use.

While rain barrels are the least expensive and simplest to install, there are more sophisticated systems if you’d like to have more water storage and can afford the extra cost.

A rain barrel typically holds around 50 gallons of water for use.  You can have several barrels to hold more water.  But if you’re interested in storing much more, you’ll need a different type of collection system.  One choice is called the Rainwater Pillow.

The Rainwater Pillow is a system that holds up to 1,000 or more gallons of water using a fabric container.  The amount it holds will depend on the size that you purchase.  For the typical homeowner, the original 1,000 gallon size is sufficient.

This system is much more expensive, costing thousands of dollars, but if you use a lot of water in your household for gardening or even farming this could be a valuable investment for you.

You can also invest in an underground system that catches rainwater and allows you to pump it out for use.  You can purchase a system that will provide water for your lawn and garden, but can also be used for toilets.

This system is quite a bit more expensive than other options because of its size, underground placement, and materials.  However, it can pay for itself in the long run by replacing your dependence on other water supplies.

In order to have this type of system, you’ll want to look in your local area for a company that specializes in it.  The cost will depend on your area and your specific needs.

rain water 

First Flush Systems for the Cleanest Water

One concern people have when using a rainwater barrel system from the rooftop is that it can become polluted by materials on your rooftop as the rainwater heads to the gutters.

This is a real concern as debris can contaminate the water in your barrel.  A great solution for this is to use a first flush system.  The first rain you’ve had is usually the most polluted as it washes away debris.

With a first flush system, the first five or even 10 gallons of water are stored and set aside from the rest of your rainwater barrel storage.  This is the water most likely to end up with sediments or chemicals.

You can simply use that water for your lawn and use the rest of the water for your purposes such as a vegetable garden or household cleaning.

More information on the next page! Be sure to checkout the video and a link to building your own rain barrel

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