I recently purchased a rain barrel that is attached to the front rain gutter and sits on the top corner of my driveway. As you may know, a rain barrel is a great way to collect stormwater for watering plants. But are you aware that it is a great way to keep stormwater out of the system and to cut down your water bill?
A rain barrel also has these many benefits:
Reduces the volume of water flowing to the sewer treatment facility.
Lowers the percentage of rooftop rainfall as a component of urban runoff.
Is a backup source of water during times of drought or between rain showers.
Helps keep our creeks and beaches clean.
Collects naturally softened water -- great for delicate houseplants, auto cleaning and window washing.
Saves money by lowering your water bill.
Reduces the need for additional tax dollars earmarked for sewer expansion.
Helps maintain a healthy biotic community in the soil (it's chlorine-free!).
Is a tool for teaching residents about water conservation.
Fills barrel with just 1/4 inch of rainfall runoff from the average roof.
This "soft water" also doesn't contain lime or calcium. And because it tends to have fewer types of sediment and dissolved salts than municipal water, rainwater is great for a large number of applications, including biodynamic and organic vegetable gardens, raised planter beds for botanicals, and indoor tropical plants.
An even better reason for a rain barrel is that it will reduce my demand for treated tap water, and save me money by lowering my monthly bill. Rainwater diversion will also help decrease the burden on water treatment facilities and municipal drainage systems during storms.
The storage of rainwater is also recommended for general emergency preparedness, or for areas prone to disasters or droughts.
A good formula to remember: one inch of rain on a 1,000 sq. ft. roof yields 623 gallons of water. Calculate the yield of your roof by multiplying the square-footage of your roof by 623 and divide by 1,000. If it were up to me, every condo would have a rain barrel.
With so many benefits, it almost seems foolish to not have one.
I found the perfect rain barrel that blends in perfectly with my condo, but, unfortunately, the condo association asked me to remove it because I had to cut the gutter where I would apply the rain barrel's connection. (If you examine the gutter on each condo, the joints of the top gutter and the joint of the bottom gutter are sealed with another, matching sheet of metal. The location on the gutter where my rain barrel is attached could be sealed in the same manner. Although, since the gutter has already been cut, I asked that I may leave the rain barrel for as long as I am a home owner there.)
I am not leaving an open rain bucket on the back patio to attract flies and mosquitoes. In fact, I feel that this is a great way to prevent mosquitoes, since the rain barrel with its lid eliminates some of the moisture the ground would hold if stormwater were to drain into the yards and street.
Should I have to get rid of it? What do you think?