Rain Barrels: Rainwater Irrigation

comments (2) January 28th, 2013

Pin It

ChrisMcLaughlin Chris McLaughlin, contributor
thumbs up 14 users recommend

Photo by will merydith under the Creative Commons Attribution Licnese 2.0.
Photo by jbolles under the Creatibve Commons Attribution License 2.0.
Photo by Ken Mayer under the Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0.
Photo by will merydith under the Creative Commons Attribution Licnese 2.0.Click To Enlarge

Photo by will merydith under the Creative Commons Attribution Licnese 2.0.

I think rain barrels are one of the best irrigation systems ever.

Water falls from the sky seasonally every year, and collecting and storing this precious resource for the sunny days ahead is brilliant. Not that this a modern idea by any means. What people have been collecting for centuries just happens to be coming back into vogue. Did you know that a mere 1" amount of rainfall can yield 600 gallons of water of a 1,000 square foot roof?
That's a tall glass of water.

For those of you that aren't entirely clear about my rant (and rave): A rain barrel is a large container (might be an actual barrel; might not be) that's connected to the end of the downspout that runs along the roof on the outside of your home.

As the rain washes off the roof, instead of going through the downspout and becoming storm water run-off, it's collected into a barrel. There's usually a screen over any open areas to keep out debris, as well as to prevent mosquitoes from setting up home and reproducing.

Most rain barrels have a spigot at the bottom for easy watering can or bucket filling. They're simply a win-win for any gardener, but can be invaluable for those growing in the drier states such as California. Straight rainwater isn't limited to the outdoors, either. It can also be used to wash clothes, flush toilets, and wash cars.

Like everything else in life, there's some controversy going on around rainwater collection. Some people refer to it as "natural soft water" because chlorine, fluoride, minerals, and other chemicals haven't been added by humans. Still others claim there are impurities in rainwater due to chemicals leaching off of the roof itself as potential contamination from air pollution.

Another -- perhaps even more interesting -- fact is that it might just be illegal. That's right, apparently there are those who believe the water falling over your home doesn't belong to you, and therefore it can be against the law to harvest it. So before you get all free-water-happy, be sure to check that it's legal in your state.


posted in: rain barrels, collecting rainwater, rainwater irrigation

Comments (2)

RickS1301 writes: I have been using rain a collection system coupled with drip irrigation for the past two seasons with great results. The key to making a rain collection system work is the ability to distribute the water collected. I have found the Turbo Rain Solar charged pump a very effective method of drawing water from a barrel and pumping it through a drip irrigation system directly to the plant. Once it is set up you can use the automatic model to irrigate on a schedule, or when you are away. It is easy to install and has enough power to pump rain water 2-300 ft easily. I irrigate 3 raised beds and it has made watering a simple task. even in the drought we had last year my tomatoes were great! check it out at Irrigation Direct...http://www.irrigationdirect.com
Posted: 1:33 pm on February 18th
Weddito writes: Re: Collecting rainwater may be illegal. If that's the case then the state better set aside a good portion of their budget to pay for the damage "their" water causes to property owners!
Posted: 11:47 am on February 13th
Log in or create a free account to post a comment.