How to Collect and Use Rainwater

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If you are not collecting rainwater to use at your home, you are seriously missing out. Rainwater harvesting is easy to do, a great way to add an alternative water source to your home, and can be fairly inexpensive to accomplish as well. Rainwater can be collected in buckets, from roofs, and by other means, and reused for non-potable needs, such as irrigation, or laundry. Unfortunately, due to water rights issues, rainwater harvesting may not be legal in your area. So be sure to check with your local government before installing a rainwater harvesting system. (Click here to see if your state has restrictions

rainwater in buckets

The easiest way to collect, or harvest, rainwater, is with a bucket. But putting a bunch of buckets around your home may not have the most curb appeal or be that easy on your back. With that being said, one of the most common, and also easy, ways to collect rainwater is from the roof. Keep it simple with Good Ideas Big Blue 55 gallon Rainwater Barrels and start collecting rainwater now...

Most roofs have a large clear surface area, gutters, and downspouts that make it easy to harvest rainwater from them. You can collect approximately 623 gallons of water from 1000 square feet of surface area with 1 inch of rainfall. So if you want to know how many gallons of rainwater you can harvest from your roof, multiple your roof’s square footage by the average rainfall in your region in inches and multiple that number by 0.623 (Formula: Roof’s square footage X Rainfall in inches X 0.623). So if your roof is 900 square feet, and you get 2 inches of rainfall, you could collect almost 1,121.4 gallons of water (900 X 2 X 0.623 = 1,121.4).

How you use your collected rainwater is up to you, but local laws may restrict your options. Using the harvested rainwater for lawn and garden irrigation is generally acceptable in most jurisdictions. It also requires less components to take advantage of the free rainwater you collect. You might live in area that allows you to use rainwater for use to do your laundry or dishes. But you may also need to add additional filtration to your rainwater collection system, which could get expensive. 

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 Adding a drip irrigation system to your rainwater collection system is generally cheaper, easier, and the most common way to use rainwater for irrigation.

A drip irrigation system requires a minimum amount of psi to distribute water to your lawn or sustainable garden and a rainwater collection system is general gravity fed which produces a low psi perfect for drip  irrigation, unless a pump is added to greatly increase it. Rule of thumb is, for every 28 inches of elevation, added to your rainwater collection container,  you gain 1 psi. Basically, you're not pressure washing your driveway without adding something to increase water pressure.

In addition to the advantages of being able to use free water for irrigation, you are also managing storm water runoff which can lead to flooding and other types of water damage. You can also manage storm water runoff my collecting rainwater in purpose built ponds, using preamble concrete, or by creating rain gardens. 

At the end of the day the easiest way to get started with rainwater collection is with a bucket. But if you want something with a little more curb appeal, go with a rainwater collection system that harvests rainwater from your roof. Add a drip irrigation system and you create a low-cost and sustainable way to irrigate your lawn and sustainable garden.

Check out our collection of Rainwater Collection Barrels...

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