Phil for Humanity Phil for Humanity
A Guide for the Survival of Humankind and Helping the World, Society, and Yourself.

Recycling Rain Water

Why do we water our plants with city water when rain water is free and not treated with chemicals? Because we are lazy, that's why!

Most of the water that falls from the sky never gets absorbed by plants, but rather rain goes deep into the ground where plants can not use it or into our sewer systems. Where I am from, most rain water ends up mixed with underground salt water or into the ocean, where it is also lost.

So start collecting and storing rain water. There are several easy and cheap methods for doing this.

The first and cheapest method is to re-use empty water jugs or gallons. That's right! Just dig a very small hole under the spout of any gutter or where water naturally pours off from the roof. Next, place an empty and clean container in this small hole, so that the rain water will pour out of the gutter's spout and into the gallon. This makes the entire roof a giant funnel, and it is okay if most of the water misses the gallon. Even a slight sprinkle of rain will fill several gallons quickly. Just remember to clean your roof and gutters, since you want to minimize the debris entering into the gallons. Third, you will want to keep bugs, especially mosquitoes, away from the water. So, either use a mesh screen or netting with a rubber band to keep out even the smallest bugs, just like what keeps bugs out of an open window or patio. Or you can close the gallon with the gallon's lid immediately after each rainstorm. That means you have to open the gallons before each rainstorm, and close it immediately afterwards. This may be difficult and time consuming, but not impossible. I strongly recommend using a mesh screen and rubber band. Also, the convenient handle on gallons make them an excellent watering pail too.

The second and more costly method is to use a rain barrel. A rain barrel is typically a 50 to 80 gallon container that also collects and stores rain water from rain gutters. The advantages of using such a large container is that you will collect a larger amount of water. This is better if you have a large garden or yard. Typically, a rain barrel will come with their own mesh screen, water faucet, and water run off system in case it rains too much for the barrel to store. Some cities even give away rain barrels for free, so don't forget to ask your town hall, especially since this method even saves your city money. Here is a few link to help you if you are interested in rain barrels:
  1. Rain Barrel Guide
There are even larger systems, such as water towers, for collecting a huge amount of rain water, but they are typically not practical for home owners.

So, there you have it. Recycling rain water helps the environment and saves you money. Rain is free, we will never run out of rain (well, we may have droughts periodically, but that makes theses systems even more useful), and clean empty containers are also free. What are you waiting for?

by Phil for Humanity
on 10/18/2006

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