Rain barrels, considered by many as outdated technology, are on the comeback. Sure, they are old fashioned. In fact, collecting rainwater for use in barrels or other containers is an ancient practice. Historical records show that they have been used in Thailand as far back as 2,000 years ago.
Why Use a Rain Barrel?
Residential water use typically increases 40 to 50% during summer months due to outdoor water use. A rain barrel can reduce this usage by collecting and storing storm water from your rooftop.
Using rainwater instead of tap water can help to improve the health of your gardens, lawns, and trees. Rain is naturally soft water and devoid of minerals, chlorine, fluoride, and other chemicals. For this reason, plants respond very well to rainwater. After all, it’s what plants in the wild thrive on!
To keep your rain barrel safe, make sure it has either a small enough opening that a child cannot fall in, or a safety strip reducing the size of the opening. Also make sure it is located in an area where there is no chance that it could fall over. A 55 gallon drum weighs more than 450 pounds when full. Also make sure it has a screened in lid to keep out mosquitoes and other insects searching for a breeding ground.
Where Can I Get a Rain Barrel?
Butler SWCD has rain barrels for sale ($75) and also rain barrel kits that you can use to turn any sturdy barrel into a rain barrel ($25). Shop rain barrels and kits here.
DIY Rain Barrel Workshops
Butler SWCD holds rain barrel workshops several times a year. Please see our calendar.