The average family of four uses around 400 gallons of water every day. Approximately, 30-40% of that water is used outside on lawn care, landscaping, car washing, and other chores. In fact, across the United States, outdoor uses account for as much as 9 billion gallons of water used each day. The amount of water each household uses outside is on average higher than the amount of water used for showering and washing clothing combined. Experts have estimated that as much as 50% of this water is wasted due to overwatering.
One easy way to conserve some of this water, and save money in the process, is through the use of rain barrels. Depending on the size of the barrel and the number of barrels in use, 50 gallons or more of water can be collected in a one inch rainfall event. By providing a free source of clean water to use for outdoor chores, the use of a rain barrel can save the average household up to 1,300 gallons of water during peak summer months.
WHAT IS A RAIN BARREL?
A rain barrel collects and stores rain water from the roof of a house for future use. The runoff would otherwise be diverted to storm sewers and streams. Therefore, rain barrels help to conserve water and reduce pollution to local waterbodies.
The cost of a rain barrel varies by type. Basic plastic barrels generally run from $60-$100. More decorative barrels, which may incorporate a planter or may repurpose a wine or whiskey barrel, can range from $100-$170. For those on a tight budget, it is also possible to make a rain barrel from a plastic drum or trash can for under $50.
Water collected by a rain barrel can be used for most outdoor watering needs. Lawns, trees, and flower gardens can be watered using the rain water. The water collected by rain barrels may carry chemicals and remnants from asphalts shingles and therefore should not be consumed by humans or pets. Due to a current lack of research, it is not recommended to use the water on vegetable gardens.
The spigot at the bottom of a rain barrel can be used to fill up watering cans or can be connected to a hose. Most spray nozzles should work with the barrel, but unfortunately, the water flow and pressure are not strong enough to power a sprinkler. However, there are pumps that are designed to increase the pressure of a rain barrel and allow a sprinkler to function. These pumps can be purchased online or at local hardware and home improvement stores.
Rain barrels are generally installed so that they are connected to a down spout. They should be placed on a sturdy cement or wood platform. This helps to keep the barrel level, provides more room for filling watering cans or attaching hoses, and increases the pressure on the water, making it easier to use a spray nozzle.
If there is a screen on the barrel, make sure to keep the screen free of debris, sediment, and other build-up that may prevent the barrel from collecting water. If possible, it is also a good idea to rinse and clean the barrel every few months, especially during rainy seasons. Soaking the barrel with water and a small amount of bleach or vinegar every few weeks will help reduce algae growth and unpleasant smells. During the winter months, the barrel should either be stored, empty, in a garage or shed or it should be turned upside down. Make sure to direct the downspout away from the house’s foundation while unattached to the rain barrel.
When: June 26th at 4:30-6:30pm
Where: Triangle Park
Cost: $10/Rain Barrel Kit
What: Learn how to make your own rain barrel and the benefits of harvesting rain water at home. We'll have all the supplies; you'll just need to put it together. And if you're feeling creative, we'll have paint and stencils available for you to turn your rain barrel into a piece of art!
Register with Aimee Carlson at firstname.lastname@example.org or (763)428-0908 by June 23rd to attend. Registration fees can be in the form of cash or check and should be sent to the address below or brought to the Public Works building below City Hall.
Aimee CarlsonPublic Works?22350 S. Diamond Lake RoadRogers, MN 55374