Make the most out of April showers with a rain barrel

Discovery Place Science

Since April showers bring May flowers, why not make the most of it with rain barrels?

Rain barrels allow us to collect rainwater from the roof and gutters and repurpose it for gardening. Not only are rain barrels a great way for kids to learn about the how to utilize rainwater, but they also benefit you and the world around you.

Harvesting rainwater helps care for the environment

When there is a rainstorm, rainwater lands on the roof and runs into the gutters. Rain barrels are attached to the gutters, allowing water to flow in and helping to reduce the amount of rainwater runoff. Minimizing that runoff benefits the environment by preventing flooding in your garden or yard, maintaining soil health, reducing your carbon footprint and more.

Although harvested rainwater is not drinkable, it is great for watering your plants and flowers. Make sure the water is only used on plants that will not be eaten, as the water may have bacteria, dust and other contaminants in it.

Rain barrels also help rivers in your community by harvesting rainwater that would normally flow through dirty streets and then into the river.

Setting up a rain barrel is easy

One of the most significant advantages of rain barrels is that they’re easy to set up and use. The centuries-old technique can be done with barrels that are all shapes and sizes. You can even pick a rain barrel with a specific color to complement your home.

Collecting rainwater with rain barrels can be simple or more complex, depending on how intricate you want your design to be. A simple rain barrel system is sufficient for home landscaping needs and improving the environment.

All it takes to make a simple rain barrel system is a 55- to 75-gallon plastic rain barrel, leaf screens and spouts. Be sure to always keep the rain barrel covered to keep bugs and debris out. This will help protect you, your children and your pets.

Using a rain barrel will help you reduce your water bill

Regularly using rainwater you’ve collected in a rain barrel will help you save money on your water bill—especially in the summer.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, homeowner lawn and garden watering accounts for 40 percent of water used during the warmer months of the year. Using collected rainwater can save you up to 1,300 gallons of water on your bill.

Frequently using rain barrels will give you the maximum benefit and help you prepare for the next storm. Depending on where you live, it’s important to consider the typical amount of rainfall in your region, how often it rains and the size of your roof.

If you live in an area that experiences a lot of rainfall, you may want to invest in a water storage tank so you can make the most of every rainfall.

Ready to try this out? Check out our Build-a-Barrel event with Project Rain Barrel River Network and the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation on April 20 at Discovery Place Science.

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