water use increases 40 to 50% during summer months
- mostly due to outdoor water use.
runoff is the leading type of residential non-point
more about rain barrels and how they address both of
What is a rain barrel?
rain barrel collects and stores rainwater from rooftops
to use later for watering plants and gardens. Water
collected in a rain barrel would normally pour off your
roof directly or flow through roof gutter downspouts and
become stormwater runoff. Depending
on your yard, this runoff can travel onto paved surfaces
and eventually into a storm drain.
some ready-made rain barrels installed at our local
Why Use Rain Barrels?
barrels conserve water and help lower costs (a rain barrel
can save approximately 1,300 gallons of water during
peak summer months).
Rain barrels reduce
water pollution by reducing stormwater runoff, which can contain pollutants
like sediment, oil, grease, bacteria and nutrients.
Rain barrels are
inexpensive and easy to build and install.
barrels can also be arranged to slowly release the
collected rainfall to areas that can soak up the water,
reducing stormwater runoff and increasing groundwater recharge.
barrels should be drained and removed for the winter months
to prevent ice damage. It is recommended that you remove
the existing downspout and elbow and leave it intact. Store
this section for reinstallation in the late
can then add another
section that will need to be custom cut to an appropriate
above your rain barrel. Two connected downspout elbows
(forming an S shape) or hinged extension should sit about
two inches above the rain barrel inlet hole. Fine mesh screen
should be used to cover any openings in the rain barrel
to prevent mosquitoes and to trap debris. Rain barrels
can be installed upon blocks or a wooden crate to
provide height for gravity flow purposes.
Where to purchase?
rain barrels range from $89 to $135 each depending
on size, style and added features. For local suppliers,
visit your local home and garden supply store, garden
center, nursery, or hardware store. You
can also do an internet search on rain barrels.
For More Information
some ready-made rain barrels installed at our local demonstration
to Build A Rain Barrel
Brochure - Safe
Use of Rain Barrel Water in the Vegetable Garden
More information on rain barrels
- Washington State University Extension