Rain Barrels Save Homeowners $$$
July 23, 2012
Early this spring, our family received a letter in the mail notifying us that the price of water was going to increase by 17%, effective immediately. With seven people in our family, we probably use a little more water than the average family for baths, laundry, and dishes, but it is our large garden that requires the most water of all.
Fortunately, a couple years ago, when browsing through the gardening books at the Library, a decorative rain barrel caught my eye. Knowing commercial rain barrels can be quite expensive, I took the project home to my husband who figured out a way to make a simple rain barrel for less than $12 each. At first, we started with just one barrel on each of the down spouts of the house. The barrels were so easy to make, a child could learn to do it. Before long, we modified a system that hooks multiple barrels together using pieces of garden hose and faucet attachments. Fifteen rain barrels now line one side of our house. Collectively, the containers fill to capture 750 gallons of water each time we get about a half inch of rain; that's a savings of roughly $20 each time we empty the barrels.
Originally, we constructed the project in an effort to be more conscientious about our carbon footprint and our water consumption, but between the droughts we’ve had this year and the increase in the price of water, we’ve never been so appreciative to have the rain water resource.
If you would like to explore a project like this for your own home, the Library has lots of resources to help you.
- The Complete Guide to Water Storage: How to Use Gray Water and Rainwater Systems, Rain Barrels, Tanks, and Other Water Storage Techniques for Household and Emergency Use by Julie Fryer
- Design for Water: Rainwater Harvesting, Storm Water Catchment, and Alternative Water Reuse by Heather Kinkade–Levario
- Create an Oasis With Greywater: Choosing, Building and Using Greywater Systems by Art Ludwig
Links and Databases:
- Home Improvement Reference Center (MCPL Research Database)
- Gardening, Landscape and Horticulture Collection (MCPL Research Database)
For information about upcoming, hands-on, rain barrel workshops contact Green Works in Kansas City; http://www.greenworkskc.org/index.html.