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.
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.
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.
How Much Can You Collect?
You may think it will take a long time to collect water in your rain barrel. But you can actually collect thousands of gallons a year. You can figure out approximately how much water you’ll collect for every inch of rainfall.
First, you’ll need to estimate the square footage of your roof. Then divide that number in half. The number you end up with is the number of gallons of water you can collect from one inch of rainfall.
The average house can collect over 400 gallons of water with a half inch of rain. As you can imagine, that adds up fast during rainy seasons. This is a great reason to have multiple barrels or larger systems.