You don’t have to be dealing with a drought to enjoy the sustainability benefits of harvesting rainwater. If you are in a drought, then you know that the hassle of alternating watering days can wreak havoc on your garden and landscaping. It’s now a great time to take advantage when it rains and start harvesting rainwater before the happiness of your gardening days arrive this spring.
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However, even if you’re not in the midst of a drought, a rainwater harvesting system is a great way to reduce your water consumption. Rainwater harvesting reduces stress on local aquifers and rivers. When you reduce the stress, more water is available to help sustain aquatic life.
Step One: Review Your Home Codes and Laws
Make sure you can install a rainwater harvesting system. Some communities don’t allow this and some home organizations have strict guidelines on what your system can and cannot contain. Make sure you understand the rules and take them into consideration for the next step.
Step Two: Design Your System
The simplest system simply takes the rainwater from your downspout. You can buy rain barrels from your local home store or you can create your own. If you only have room or a budget for one rain barrel, study your home’s roof line and downspout system to identify the best place to collect water. You may find that one area of your roof gets the most flow. You’ll gather the most water in this area.
Step Three: How Will You Use the Water?
It’s important to create a system where you’re using the rainwater. If it’s allowed to sit, you’ll start growing things and collecting bugs. In fact, it’s a great place for mosquitoes to reproduce.
You can attach a garden hose to your rain barrel and use it to water your garden. You can also create a drip irrigation system from your rain barrel. Or you can simply fill watering cans from it and use the water to hydrate your plants both indoors and out.
Finally, take the time to occasionally clean out your rain barrel. Empty it completely and clean out the leaves and debris. You’ll be amazed how much dirt and material can come off your roof, through your downspouts, and into your rain barrel. By cleaning it out, you’ll ensure that the flow remains strong and that you don’t start growing bacteria or fungus in your barrel.
Harvesting rainwater is just one simple way you can take your sustainable lifestyle to the next level. You’ll become more conscious of your water consumption. Don’t be surprised if you never throw a glass of water down the drain ever again.