Tips on How to Harvest Rainwater

September 21, 2009

For almost  a decade (really, as long as I can remember) there were water restrictions here in my home state of Georgia. But in the last year, we’ve had so much rainfall that the bans have been lifted.

In the garden

Still, if you’ve ever lived through a drought or live in a drought-prone area then you know the wistful feeling of watching it rain and wishing there were some way you could harvest rainwater to help tend to your lawn and garden. The good news is there are ways for you to easily harvest rainwater. Here are a couple of tips:

Rain Barrels

The good old-fashioned rain barrel is perhaps the easiest and most affordable option. You can make rain barrels yourself from waterproof containers you have lying around the home or you can purchase them online or in your local home or garden store.

While placing a bucket out in the rain is one option, the best way to capture the most rainwater is to position your barrel under your rain gutter downspout.

Ensure that the downspout flows directly into the barrel. That way you’re collecting all of the rain that hits the roof of your home, which is a much larger surface area than a bucket collecting water in the yard.

Tap your rain barrel with two flows.
One flow will be there to release overflow in the event it rains so hard that your barrel fills up. The other flow can be used to utilize the water. You can attach a hose to it and direct water into your garden, or simply have a faucet you can turn off and on to fill your watering can as needed. You can purchase these simple faucets and overflow attachments at your local hardware or home store.

Protect your rain gutters.
Placing covers over your rain gutters prevents the debris on your roof from entering your rain barrel. This debris can rot and contaminate the water. And it can clog the outputs in your rain barrel, making using the water extremely difficult. Rain gutter guards and shields can be purchased at your local hardware or home store and range in price from a few dollars to a high-priced and comprehensive gutter system.

Pay close attention to how your rain gutters are set up.
If you have more than one downspout, you may want to position a rain barrel under each downspout to harvest as much rainwater as possible.

Finally, make sure you’re allowed to harvest rainwater. It may sound silly but in some areas with water rights restrictions, you’re not allowed to harvest rainwater and can be fined.

Harvesting rainwater is an excellent way to maximize the available water. It saves on your personal water bill because while the water isn’t safe for human consumption, it’s great for watering a lawn or garden.

Creative Commons License photo credit: ravik694

More Posts By Carrie:


One Response to “Tips on How to Harvest Rainwater”

  1. candi on November 21st, 2009 2:42 pm

    love this and plan to implement something similar soon at our place!

Got something to say?