March 20, 2013

Benefits of Harvesting Rain Water

Whether you live in an urban area or in the country, overusing your water supply can be taxing. For urban dwellers, over usage could mean high utility bills while country dwellers could find their well system distressed after running the faucet too long. For gardeners, the balancing game between keeping a healthy garden and not overusing water is a tough act. This is why both city and country residents should consider harvesting rain water from rain barrels.

Rain Barrels – A rain barrel is exactly what its name suggests; a barrel made to catch and store rain water. It may seem like an archaic method, but that’s because it is! Nearly 4,000 years ago, Middle Eastern natives trapped and stored rain water using this exact method. Now, in twenty-first century America, the rain barrel has returned. The following are some benefits of harvesting water from the sky. 

Plant Health –Contrary to popular belief, rain water is actually very healthy for plants -- healthier, in fact, than treated water from the tap. Evaporation is nature’s filtration system; when water evaporates, pollutants are left on the ground; when it rains, pollen, dirt, and small pollution particles are mixed with the droplets as they fall. Even after mixing with airborne pollutants, rain water is free of hard chemicals found in drinking water. Plants thrive on soft rain water free of chemicals. 

Money Saver – If you’re paying for your water, you’ll find that the more you use, the more expensive your bill becomes. Instead of racking up utility costs, why not use free, natural rain water for all outdoor purposes? We already know that rain water is healthier for plants than tap water so go ahead and hook your sprinkler system up to a rain barrel and stop worrying about high utility bills.

Environmentally Friendly – Rain water that drips off your roof will eventually make its way into the street; from there, it will continue down a storm drain and begin a long journey to an exit point where it will empty into a lake, stream, river, or ocean. Along its journey, the water picks up pollutants like oil, antifreeze, and pesticides, all of which end up nearby bodies of water. By capturing and storing rain water, you’ll keep excess water from dripping off your roof, entering the street and inevitably polluting local bodies of water. This isn't the only way you’ll be helping the environment. As the population grows and the demand for fresh water increases, more and more resources are being drawn from the aquifer. The aquifers are being stressed under the weight of municipal water demands, and rain barrels can help relieve Mother Nature from her burden. 


Phil Goold is a retired landscaper of 30 years. He loves being outside more than anything else, except maybe pie. He enjoys connecting with other landscapers and gardeners because everyone brings something new and fun to the table. Connect with Phil on Twitter and Google+.

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