Collecting rainwater helps you save money, while watering your garden. It also helps the environment, by reducing the amount of water that has to be extracted from the earth or processed in water treatment facilities. Besides, all you need to start collecting rainwater is right over your head.
The three elements you need to collect rainwater are collection area, transportation system and storage facility. Basically, if you have a roof, you already have a collection area. All you need to do is figure out how much rainwaterwater your garden needs and whether your roof can collect that much. If you are going to irrigate a large vegetable patch in some dry area, you are going to need a lot more rainwater, than you will need, if you are going to just water a few container plants in your patio. An average, 25 ft to 40 ft, home roof sheds around 600 gallons of rainwater in an hour, in cases of moderate rainfall, around 1 inch. This means that if you have two downspouts, they’ll divert 300 gallons of rainwater each toward the barrel under them. The more barrels you have, the more rainwater you’ll be able to collect.
The transportation system of your rainwater harvester are the gutters and the downspouts along the edges of the roof. They can be made from aluminum or plastic and need to be large enough to carry the rainwater running off the roof. For roof collection areas up to 1000 sq. ft., a 5-inch gutter and a 3-inch downspout are large enough to carry the rainwater. The larger your roof collection area, the larger size gutters and downspouts you need. Make sure there are some kind of screens, to keep leaves and other debris from clogging the downspouts.
For a storage facility for the collected rainwater, you can use barrels. Locate them under downspouts close to the driest spots in your garden. Dig out a 4-inch-deep area, the length and width of the cinder block base. Fill it with 1/4 –inch pea gravel. This will make a base to help you level the cinder blocks and drain away rainwater, to keep your foundation dry. The higher you can raise the barrels, the better the water pressure will be. It also gets the spigot higher off the ground, so you can get watering can under it. The more water you can store, the better. Short lengths of hose can be attached to individual barrels to link them together, which will boost the capacity of your rainwater collection system. Later, when you see how much water your garden needs, you can add more.
Reduce your carbon footprint and your water bills by collecting rainwater to use in your garden. Keep in mind that some states have restrictions on rainwater collection. It is best to research the regulations in your area before you start collecting rainwater.