Using a barrel to catch water when it rains is one of the simplest, most cost efficient way to conserve water. A rain barrel is simply a storage system that captures water running off your roof when it rains to use later for things like lawn and garden
watering. If your city or town bans watering during times of dry weather, it may be the ONLY way to avoid watching your outdoor plants wilt.
Cumberland SWCD is selling rain barrels for $50 each. To place an order, call 910-484-8479 opt. #3.
Rain barrels are inexpensive and easy to install. Gutters collect water that is flowing down a sloped roof. The gutter sends the water to a downspout, which should release the water away from the house. You place the rain barrel underneath the downspout,
so the water flows into the barrel instead of into your yard. If you don’t use gutters, place the rain barrel under the drip line of your roof to catch the water.
The top of the barrel has a hole and is covered with mosquito net and screening to keep out debris and bugs. On the side of the barrel close to the bottom, there is a spigot for attaching a hose for watering plants. You can even connect several barrels
together to handle overflow once your first barrel is full.
Harvesting rainwater helps supplement irrigation. Water savings from using stored rainwater rather than municipal or well water can be substantial over a period of time. A rain barrel can also help reduce the amount of water that may settle around the
foundation of your home.
Of course, how much water you actually collect depends on how much it rains and the size of the roof. A typical one-inch rainfall will fill a 50 to 55 gallon barrel. Figure about a half gallon of water per square foot of roof area during a one-inch
rainfall. A 2,000 square foot roof can collect about 1,000 gallons of water (accounting for about 20% loss from evaporation, runoff and splash).