Rain Barrels

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Rain barrels are used to to capture storm water runoff from the roof during rain events.  A rain barrel positioned under or connected to the rain gutter down spout will receive and store storm water runoff.  The storm water harvested in your rain barrel can be used to water flowers, gardens, pets, lawns, potted plants and trees.  Reusing storm water is free, conserves water which lowers your water bill which saves you money and helps us sustain the environment.

Rain water is softer than tap water and its natural benefits are that it is oxygenated and free of chlorine, fluoride, salts, lime and calcium.  Rain Barrels are available in a variety of sizes.

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Why Is a Rain Barrel Important?
What Impact Can I Really Make
with One Rain Barrel?

Your home’s roof is an impervious surface – meaning storm water cannot pass through.  Any light rain will result in water flowing down the rain gutters and into the downspout.  Every rain event can potentially result in up to 55 gallons or more of usable water for outdoor landscape watering.  

During major rain events, the rain barrel will catch the first flush of what might be several hundred gallons of water flowing through the gutters and downspouts.  This first flush is the initial collection of the dirt, soot, asphalt dust, animal droppings, etc., that have accumulated on the roof since the last rain.  These pollutants will be captured in the rain barrel and will NOT flow to creeks and rivers and eventually emptying into the Pacific Ocean, helping to keep our coastal waters cleaner.


One household with one barrel can make a difference.  Consider various common roof sizes in terms of total area covered – 1,600 square feet, 1,800 square feet, 2,000 square feet, etc.  Depending on the configuration and construction of the structure, the rain gutters and downspouts might cover 1/5th or 1/4th or 1/3rd of the total roof area.  The table below shows the amount of rain water that can be captured in a rain barrel under various rainfall and roof-size scenarios.

As shown in the table below, even a relatively minor rain can result in a barrel full of rain water that can be used for outdoor landscaping while also reducing sediments eroding the natural landscape and polluting our waters.  As such, fifteen rain events in a five-month rain season (average rainfall every ten days) could generate 825 gallons of rain water.

 
 
How Can I Get a Rain Barrel?    Rain-Measurement-Capture-Mark-III

Rain Barrels can be purchased in home and garden stores, nurseries and on-line.  Costs vary from about $50 up to $300 per barrel, depending on the size and material.

 
 What Will Be Required of Me?  
The rain barrels will require cleaning.  All the pollutants that will be captured become sentiments at the bottom of the barrel.  These sentiments can be safely discarded into the lawn and garden area, but the barrel will likely require some cleaning.  Popular cleaning supplies include castile soap, vinegar & lemon juice – typically two teaspoons per gallon.
 
Learn to Protect Your Rain Barrels from Mosquitoes