BONUS: Make a rain barrel
Discovery Place Science
Rainy days can make this period of social distancing even more challenging. The rain hampers your ability to get outside and sometimes it can feel like the walls are closing in as you are trapped indoors. But rain isn’t all bad and focusing on a way to celebrate the wetter days can help. So 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 how to utilize rainwater, but these water collectors also benefit you and your environment.
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. Just 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 of 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. You should always keep the rain barrel covered to keep out bugs and debris. 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.