Rain barrels help residents save money on water bills and provide clean water for plants. It is a win for your pocketbook and the environment. North Riverside residents can buy rain barrels at https://mwrd.org/rain-barrels
Why get a Rain a Barrel?
1. Save money on water bills
Even if you’re not one to worry about your environmental impact, you certainly care about the impact water use has on your wallet. When you collect rainwater, you can use it for household chores such as:
- Watering the lawn and garden
- Watering indoor plants
- Washing your car
- Cleaning driveways, patios, and other outdoor areas
- Mopping floors
Every gallon of harvested rainwater you use around the house is a gallon you don’t have to pay for. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that a rain barrel saves the average homeowner up to 1,300 gallons of water each year. That’s 1,300 gallons that won’t show up on your water bill!
Note: Rainwater collects bacteria and other contaminants on its way to your barrel, so it isn’t safe for all uses. Don’t use rain barrel water for drinking, cooking, bathing, or cleaning surfaces that come in contact with food.
2. Conserve water during drought
You can use harvested rainwater to irrigate your lawn and garden as much as it needs with a guilt-free conscience because you aren’t wasting any water.
And it doesn’t just benefit you. Conserving water in this way benefits your whole community by putting less strain on municipal water sources. It’s one step in preserving our planet’s limited natural resources — that’s right, water is a limited resource, and eventually, we’ll run out.
3. Reduce stormwater runoff
Rainwater harvesting also helps the community and the greater environment by catching stormwater runoff before it can cause problems.
Here’s why too much stormwater runoff is a bad thing:
- Water pollution: As stormwater runoff traverses lawns and roadways, it collects all kinds of contaminants: pesticides, chemical fertilizers, animal feces, etc. The runoff eventually carries all those contaminants into natural bodies of water, where they can harm aquatic ecosystems and diminish local water quality.
- Storm drain clogs: Runoff also collects debris like leaves, sticks, and mud, then carries them into storm sewers. The debris can cause clogs, which lead to flooding and stress on the sewer system.
When you catch a portion of that runoff in your rain barrel, there’s less of it to pollute water and clog drains. One barrel on its own might not make a huge impact, but imagine the impact if everyone in your neighborhood started harvesting rainwater.
4. Prevent flooding and soil erosion
Maybe you have the opposite problem of drought. Maybe your area gets too much rain, flooding your yard with puddles and eroding away your topsoil. A rain barrel can help you, too. All the water you catch from the downspout doesn’t end up in your yard.
When you minimize flooding, you prevent wet lawn-related issues such as damage to your home’s foundation, fungal lawn diseases, and pests. When you prevent soil erosion, you keep your soil nutrient-rich and perfect for growing strong, healthy plants.
5. Provide clean water for plants
Tap water from your sink or garden hose contains fluoride, salts, and other unnatural additives that can harm your plants. Since rainwater is all-natural and untreated, it’s better for your soil and your plants. Rainwater from your barrel is just as good as rain from the sky, which keeps all the plants in the wild happy and healthy.