What’s Rain Got to Do With It?

I grew up using rain barrels – we had old wine barrels beside our home and they seemed to hold unfathomable depths of fresh clean water for our plants. We had to put a screen on top held with a rock or an unfortunate squirrel or maybe a bird would drown. We had to tip the watering can in from the top and let it fill before dragging it up and over again. I often leaned well into the barrel and wore more water than I pulled up: it never occurred to my parents that this was dangerous.

Rain barrels have gained popularity and accessibility. They are now much better designs: the downspout attachment is fitted, they are sturdy, come with protective screens, made of weather-resistant plastics, and they have well-installed spigots or hoses at the base to let you use almost every last drop of water. They have now become garden accessories and look great with pleasing styles, and even opportunity to plant on top.

image ~ mtwatercourse.org

image ~ mtwatercourse.org

Beyond the smart, economical, and eco-friendly use of rain barrels to water gardens, wash your car, have discretionary water during times of water restrictions, there are 3 great reasons to use your barrels to help Altona Forest’s Petticoat Creek and all local watersheds.

  1. Rain barrels are excellent water control devices. Rainwater runs off hard surfaces such as roofs, driveways, patios and gushes into the local sewers. Most street sewers are directed untreated into local creeks. The massive influx of water from all the hard-surface runoff of a typical downpour inundates the creek – eroding its banks, killing or disturbing wildlife, lowering water quality with excess runoff toxins (like antifreeze, animal waste and it’s bacteria, oil). If everyone collected the water from their roofs in rain barrels we would be conserving the streams, creeks, rivers and lakes and all their inhabitants.
  2. Are you a gardener? It’s been proven that rainwater is much better for plants than tap water. If you are planting or simply hoping to watch your garden grow, plants will take root sooner with rainwater. Why? Rain is untreated and has no hard minerals in it. There’s no chlorine or fluoride. It’s softer and much more suited to plants. (In fact, treat your indoor plants to rain water all summer long.) Your watering helps that water enter the ground when it’s dry and then purify through the layers of earth and sediment to enter the aquifer in the most natural way.
  3. You can be gatekeeper and protector of the local water table. If the weather report indicates a big storm headed your way, drain your rain barrel before it arrives… let the water seep into the ground before it becomes over-saturated with water. Then, when the rains come, your barrel will be full again and you are helping by offsetting the times of the water influx. The layers of earth and sediment are excellent purifiers, but there is only so much it can handle at one time.

Our region has plenty of fresh available water but other communities are harnessing every bit of rainwater, re-directing grey water, and realizing the value of a healthy water table. Water is our most renewable resource. Rain and how we control it makes every difference to our forest, creek, and our local ecosystem’s long-term viability.

My front yard rain barrel –attractive wicker style rain barrel with planter top allows me to grow cascading geraniums, while collecting warm, chlorine free rain water for my other plants. The rain barrel is made from durable, u.v. resistant plastic with a rattan finish and contains recycled content. It also includes a screw-on 3 foot hose with shut off valve, hanging clip, and overflow hose … full-out fancy! It looks like a large planter

My front yard rain barrel –attractive wicker style rain barrel with planter top allows me to grow cascading geraniums, while collecting warm, chlorine free rain water for my other plants. The rain barrel is made from durable, u.v. resistant plastic with a rattan finish and contains recycled content. It also includes a screw-on 3 foot hose with shut off valve, hanging clip, and overflow hose … full-out fancy! It looks like a large planter

image ~ rainbarrel.ca

My backyard rain barrel is larger, recycled, extremely sturdy, and more utilitarian… but I love it too!

What’s Rain Got To Do With It ~ © 2014 Natasha G

More info: Rainwater Harvesting

Rain Garden/Barrel calculator: http://raingardenalliance.org/right/calculator

Winterizing Rain Barrels: http://rainbarrel.ca/winterize/

Managing Rain Where It Falls: http://www.raincommunitysolutions.ca/en/news/

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One Response to What’s Rain Got to Do With It?

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