Contain Rainwater For Gardens and Lawns, Fight the Drought with Harvested Rain WaterWise Blog Team
The entirety of the West Coast is currently in the midst of one of the worst droughts in recent history. In fact, in California, the U.S. Drought Monitor notes that over 70 percent of the state suffers from extreme drought, and in Nevada, 76 percent suffers from severe drought too. However, scientists and climatologists are hopeful that the upcoming winter (and the accompanying El Nino, which is expected to peak later this fall) will bring plenty of rain to the West Coast, which should help to combat the effects of the drought. In fact, if you happen to live in an area that’s affected by the drought, then you might consider installing some rain barrels on your property to catch some of the expected precipitation later this year. With just a single inch of rain, over 900 gallons of runoff can pour from your roof—that’s water that you can honestly put to good use!
If you live in an urban area like Los Angeles, then it’s important to remember that rainwater shouldn’t be used for consumption—because urban areas often have a fair amount of air pollution, much of that will actually end up in the rainwater. However, like grey water, rainwater can be used to help water decorative plants in your front yard. Due to the drought, it can actually be fairly expensive to maintain a green, lush lawn throughout the year. However, by using rainwater, you can help to offset some of the cost associated with watering your lawn on a regular basis. Furthermore, some experts in urban design note that collecting rainwater helps to prevent pollution runoff into local water tables—pollutants often build up on surfaces (like roads) throughout the dry months, and the first big rain will usually wash those chemicals into nearby streams and rivers. But by collecting rain, you can help to prevent that initial burst of pollution runoff. Lastly, some states have different policies regarding rainwater collecting, so before you think to install a rain barrel in your yard, make sure to check your local laws.
Installing a rain barrel is very straightforward. All that you need to do is to purchase a barrel that can collect a fair amount of water (anything over 40 gallons is a good call), and you simply attach the barrel to a downspout—then you’re done! There are a number of different choices available when it comes to rain barrels. You can always go with your standard plastic rain barrel, or you can upgrade, and go for something a little more expensive that might match your house a bit better. There are some, like the RTS Rain Fountain Rain Collector or the 105-Gallon Brick Wall Rain Barrel, that are designed to mimic natural features of your home, as they actually look like stone vessels or mini-brick walls. Collecting rainwater is pretty simple, as all you need is a decent barrel and a little bit of rain to get started.