By collecting and storing rainwater from rooftops for lawn and garden use, rain barrels stop stormwater runoff from flowing to the nearest storm drain.
What Is A Rain Barrel?
Rain barrels are an important part of a stormwater-friendly yard care routine. A rain barrel collects and stores rainwater that would normally flow off of a rooftop and into storm drains. That stored water can then be used later, usually to water lawns or for other outdoor water uses. So a rain barrel helps prevent stormwater pollution and conserves water! Typical rain barrels are composed of a 55 gallon drum, vinyl hose, PVC couplings, and a screen to prevent insects or other debris from becoming caught in the barrel. The barrel can be placed under a gutter down spout or can be connected directly to the downspout. Some homeowners choose to connect multiple rain barrels to increase storage capacity.
What Are The Benefits Of Using A Rain Barrel?
Rain barrels help reduce stormwater pollution by keeping stormwater out of storm drains, and they conserve water- which saves money and helps the environment. Residential water use increases 40 to 50% during summer months, mostly due to outdoor water use. Just one inch of rain water can generate up to 620 gallons on a 1,000 square foot roof- easily filling a rain barrel. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates a rain barrel will save most homeowners about 1,300 gallons of water during the peak summer months.
Ready-made rain barrels are available for purchase from lawn and garden centers, hardware stores and through the internet. Be on the look-out for rain barrel events hosted by cities and towns, local watershed groups, or conservation districts. They are often held in the spring to coincide with Earth Day or similar festivals.
Building A Rain Barrel
URI Healthy Landscapes: How to Build A Rain Barrel is one of many resources available with step-by-step instructions for those homeowners who would like to build their own rain barrel.