Collecting rainwater for use during dry months is an ancient practice. Historical records show that rainwater was collected in simple clay containers as far back as 2,000 years ago in Thailand, and throughout other areas of the world after that. With the rising price of municipal water and moderate to severe watering restrictions now facing much of the United States during the summer months, more and more homeowners in our modern society are turning to he harvesting of rainwater to protect the environment and save money.
Rain barrels. An easy and inexpensive way to collect rainwater is by connecting one or more rain barrels to your gutter downspout system. You can use a rain barrel even if you don’t have gutters by positioning the barrel where two roof sections meet and create a valley. Most rain barrels come equipped with a spigot, a screen to keep out bug and debris from the roofs, a diverter for overflows, and a hose fitting to allow you to connect multiple barrels to one downspout.
How much water can you expect to collect? A house whose footprint is 1,000 squarre feet will collect 600 gallons of water for every inch of rainfall! Rainwater can be used to water indoor or outdoor plants. In fact, plants thrive on the soft, chemical-free properties of fresh rainwater.
Environmental benefit. In addition to the practical aspects of collecting rainwater, there is an environment benefit. The protection of every natural resource is key to the survival of humankind. Fresh water is undoubtedly one of the most important of those natural resources. For those of us with access to the water wealth of the Great Lakes, it may be difficult to accept water scarcity. However, some experts believe that water will replace petroleum as the 21st century’s core commodity.