Collecting rainwater for use during dry months in rain barrels or other depositories is an ancient and traditional practice. Historical records show that rainwater was collected in simple clay containers as far back as 2,000 years ago in Thailand, and throughout other areas of the world after that. For modern humans, a rain barrel is an inexpensive and effortless way to capture mineral- and chlorine-free water for watering lawns, yards, and gardens, as well as washing cars or rinsing windows. By harnessing what's literally raining from the sky, you'll not only notice a marked dip in water costs, but also a reduction in storm water runoff, which in turn helps prevent erosion and flooding.
When preparing your rain barrel, keep a few tips in mind. A rain barrel should include a screen to keep out debris. Ensure that your rain barrel has a cover and a tight connection where water enters the barrel to prevent mosquito breeding and algae buildup. If roof contaminants are a concern, Stroud Water Research Center recommends emptying the first collected rainwater from the bottom of the barrel. Rain barrels should not be used if your roof contains asbestos. Also, your garden plants may love the rainwater, but water collected in rain barrels is not suitable for human consumption.
Read more about how rain barrels benefit the environment, your plants and your budget.
Rain Barrel Buying Guide