Rain Barrels: A New Take on Something Old
Rain barrels have been used for centuries to collect and store water that would otherwise be diverted away from the property. Once considered an eyesore in urban and suburban communities, rain barrels have made an eco-friendly comeback as a great way to save rainwater to use on your lawn or garden.
A rain barrel is typically composed of a 55-gallon drum, a vinyl hose, PVC couplings, and a screen grate to keep debris and insects out. You can easily make one yourself or purchase one from any hardware or home improvement store.
Depending on the area of the country, a rain barrel can save the average homeowner about 1,300 gallons of water during the peak summer months, according to the EPA. In fact, lawn and garden watering makes up about 40 percent of total household water usage. Water collected in a rain barrel also can be used to wash cars and windows, or even top off a swimming pool.
If you are concerned about the appearance of a rain barrel, plant shrubbery or flowers around it – or paint the barrel as part of a creative art project.