Rain Barrels – A Simple Water Saving Measure

With the water crisis in California, it’s a good time to start thinking about how we use water around our homes. Low flow fixtures and appliances are great if you can afford to install them throughout your home, but there is also one simple and inexpensive way to significantly reduce your home’s water use: Rain Barrels. For those of you who don’t know, rain barrels are a great way to conserve water by recycling the water that runs through your home’s gutter system. The rain barrel is set up below a gutter downspout, and collects and stores rainwater from your roof that would otherwise be lost to runoff and diverted to storm drains and streams.

You can purchase pre-made rain barrels from a variety of home improvement and landscaping retailers, or you can make your own. A simple rain barrel can be made using a 55 gallon drum, a vinyl hose, a few PVC couplings, and a screen grate to keep debris and insects out. In Arlington there is a group called Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment that holds rain barrel workshops, where you can learn how to build, install and maintain rain barrels. To learn more, go to this link:  http://www.arlingtonenvironment.org/be-green/live-green/barrel/

What are the advantages of a rain barrel?

According to the EPA:

‘Lawn and garden watering make up nearly 40% of total household water use during the summer. A rain barrel collects water and stores it for when you need it most — during periods of drought — to water plants, wash your car, or to top a swimming pool. It provides an ample supply of free “soft water” to homeowners, containing no chlorine, lime or calcium making it ideal for gardens, flower pots, and car and window washing. A rain barrel used to collect rooftop runoff using a gutter / downspout system A rain barrel will save most homeowners about 1,300 gallons of water during the peak summer months. Saving water not only helps protect the environment, it saves you money and energy (decreased demand for treated tap water). Diverting water from storm drains also decreases the impact of runoff to streams. Therefore, a rain barrel is an easy way for you to have a consistent supply of clean, fresh water for outdoor use, FREE.’ – (http://www.epa.gov/region3/p2/what-is-rainbarrel.pdf)

Rain barrels are one just one of the many simple ways you can reduce your home’s footprint on the local ecosystem. If you’d like to learn more about ‘green’ home strategies, or to chat about all things real estate and home building, feel free to contact me anytime.

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