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Using a Rain Barrel

Rain harvesting often starts as a hobby when an individual attaches a free-standing plastic barrel to a gutter downspout to and begins collecting rain. Drought-plagued states, such as California, encourage citizens to use these barrels and some municipalities even give them to residents at no charge.

When we ask gardeners how many gallons they use to water their flower bed, they can explain how long it takes to do the job, but they never know the exact amount of water used.

Most people are shocked to learn that a 50-gallon rain barrel will collect enough water to allow them to run a garden hose for about 10 minutes. That’s how far the basic rain barrel goes.

When you consider that the average American uses 100 gallons of water a day for cooking, drinking and hygiene, you realize how little rain a barrel can collect and store. That is why we encourage a serious rain harvester to move up from one (or several) rain barrels to a tank with a pump.

How much rainwater could you collect off your roof? Determine your location’s average annual rainfall.