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Rain Barrels and Water

We’d dreamed about having a rain barrel for a long time, but a municipal promotion provided the kick-in-the-pants we needed to acquire one– well, actually two rain barrels. We ordered and picked them up through a drive organized by the city and the Huron Water Shed Council last fall. We set up ours before winter came, and this spring we are regularly making use of the water they collect. It’s enormously satisfying to fill up the watering can while planting and know this water is free!
Rain Barrel Installed
(Note to readers: Please focus on the sturdy rain barrel, the blooming lilac and the lovely new barn as backdrop, rather than the unpulled weeds in the foreground!)

We decided to install our rain barrels on top of quickly assembled cinder block stands. It took just a little finagling to make them level. Our barrels came with easy to follow instructions about how to figure out how much downspout to trim and how to trim it safely. The downspout simply drains onto the depressed top of the barrel so the downspout and barrel aren’t technically attached. The top of the barrel has a sturdy little screen over the hole to prevent debris from ending up in the barrel.
Rain Barrel Top

Our rain barrels came with a pre-drilled hole near the bottom and two near the top. We fitted the bottom hole with a very handy spigot and the top holes got overflow spouts. Rain Barrel with Spout

What’s the city’s motivation for promoting rain barrels? Rain barrels cut down on storm water runoff and help reduce water usage. Those are ideas we were happy to support too. Further, our city thinks rain barrels are such a good idea that they subsidized the cost of the rain barrels to start and offer us a “storm water credit” for having rain barrels installed on our property. Saving money wasn’t our main motivation, but I’m nonetheless happy to see the $1.79 rain barrel credit on my quarterly water bill.

Rain Barrel with Hose

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3 Responses

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  1. painterb says

    Can this water be used to drink /cook, after boiling? Or is it mainly for cleaning?

  2. Jardinier says

    My initial response would have been: no, you can’t drink rain water. A little internet research, however, shows that there is a variety of opinions on this matter:

    I suppose if your rain water were properly filter and boiled, you could drink it. Since we have access to clean drinking water, I wouldn’t go to the trouble however.

    So we don’t use the water for drinking water at all, but for watering our garden. (We could also use it to wash the car.) Since the EPA estimates that 40% of your water use in the summer is watering your garden and lawn, using water from a rain barrel can be a significant savings.

  3. judy says

    Hi there. Thanks for visiting my blog. It is very exciting to find another blog about a backyard veggie garden in the city of AA. If you are inclined, I’d like to trade blogrolls! We also source our rain barrel from the Huron River Watershed Council although we don’t know where to install it yet.