We’ve discussed collecting and storing rainwater before, but let’s revisit the various aspects involved for the benefit of those who are merely curious about the practice or are in serious need of options due to drought and water-rationing.
To that end, this column extensively incorporates material previously covered.
The setup can be as simple as a rain gutter, downspout and barrel. Kits are available from catalogs and the Internet, but you can easily make your own. Before getting started, however, check local building codes to be sure that it’s OK to have rain-collection systems in your area.
First, to keep any debris from the roof from getting into your system, install a wire-mesh or plastic screen over the opening in the gutter where it is connected to the vertical downspout. Next, choose some kind of barrel or tank to collect the water. Many home-improvement stores and garden centers sell 55- to 75-gallon plastic barrels for around $50 to $100. Complete kits, including, leaf screens and downspout connectors, go for $100 to $250. If you use a recycled barrel, select one that’s been used for food storage rather than any kind of chemical.
A typical 1,000-square-foot roof can provide about 500 gallons of water from only 1 inch of rainfall. When the barrels are full, divert the rest of the water away from the house or, better yet, into a rain garden.
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