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Beginners Guide to Harvesting Rainwater

There are lots of ways to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle and reduce your negative impact on the earth. Minimizing use of electricity and recycling discarded products are two common ways to help protect the environment. Another good way to help the environment is through water use. Not only should you conserve water whenever possible, but harvesting rainwater for use in and around your home is a good way to reduce water waste.

How do I harvest rainwater?

Harvesting rainwater is an easy process with the right tools. All you need is a rain barrel with a spigot to allow you to drain the water into a bucket and a mesh cover to keep debris and bugs out of the barrel. However, a barrel with a spigot is not necessary; you can scoop the water out of the barrel with a bucket or ladle, if you’d prefer.

Place the barrel under a downspout on your house to collect the rainwater as it collects in your gutters. You will likely need to adjust your downspout to accommodate the rain barrel by taking off the lower portion of it.

How do I use harvested rainwater?

Usually, when it rains, the gutters on your home direct the rainwater back into the ground, where it’s absorbed and goes back into the earth’s water cycle. Then, during dry periods, people use their garden hoses to water their lawns, flower beds and water gardens to keep the plants nourished. Harvesting rainwater offers an eco-friendly alternative to using drinkable water for lawn care, as well as for indoor plants.

However, plants are not the only way you can conserve your water use. Rainwater can be used around the home, as well. Use rainwater to wash your car, or for household cleaning such as mopping. While rainwater should not be used for cooking or washing dishes, it can be used in many other ways around the house. Collecting rainwater is one way your home and lifestyle can be much more eco-friendly.