By collecting and storing rain water from rooftops for lawn and garden use, rain barrels stop stormwater runoff from flowing to the nearest storm drain.
What Is A Rain Barrel?
Rain barrels are an important part of a stormwater-friendly yard care routine. A rain barrel collects and stores rainwater that would normally flow off of a rooftop and into storm drains. That stored water can then be used later, usually to water lawns or for other outdoor water uses. So a rain barrel helps prevent stormwater pollution and conserves water! Typical rain barrels are composed of a 55 gallon drum, vinyl hose, PVC couplings, and a screen to prevent insects or other debris from becoming caught in the barrel. The barrel can be placed under a gutter down spout or can be connected directly to the downspout. Some homeowners choose to connect multiple rain barrels to increase storage capacity.
What Are The Benefits Of Using A Rain Barrel?
Rain barrels help reduce stormwater pollution by keeping stormwater out of storm drains, and they conserve water- which saves money and helps the environment. Residential water use increases 40 to 50% during summer months, mostly due to outdoor water use. Just one inch of rain water can generate up to 620 gallons on a 1,000 square foot roof- easily filling a rain barrel. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates a rain barrel will save most homeowners about 1,300 gallons of water during the peak summer months.
Ready-made rain barrels are available for purchase from lawn and garden centers, hardware stores and through the internet. Locally, the Rhode Island Water Lady has established a community program throughout Rhode Island and Connecticut with The Great American Rain Barrel Company to deliver barrels locally at discounted prices.
Building A Rain Barrel
Some homeowners choose to build their own rain barrel. Many websites are available with step-by-step instructions to help homeowners purchase materials and build a rain barrel, including URI Healthy Landscapes: How to Build A Rain Barrel.