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Rainwater Harvesting
One of the easiest ways to use stored rainwater is for landscaping.  In many communities, 30 to 50 percent of the total water is used for landscape irrigation.  If that demand for a limited natural resource can be reduced, everyone benefits.  Rainwater harvesting is an innovative approach to capture free water.

Rainwater is good for plants because it is free of salts and other minerals that harm root growth.  As rainwater percolates into the soil, it forces salts down and away from root zones, allowing roots to grow better and making plants more drought tolerant.

What is rainwater harvesting?

Rainwater harvesting captures, diverts and stores rainwater for later use.  Rainwater can supply water for household, landscape, wildlife and agricultural uses.  It can even be used for drinking, with proper treatment.  But the easiest way to use stored rainwater is for landscaping.  Harvesting rainwater for use in the home landscape:

  • Saves you money by reducing your water bills.
  • Reduces demand on the municipal water supply.
  • Makes efficient use of a valuable resource.
  • Reduces flooding, erosion and contamination of surface water with sediments, fertilizers and pesticides in rainfall run-off.

Why harvest rainwater?

  • Promotes self-sufficiency and an appreciation for water resources.
  • Promotes water conservation providing a "new" water resource.
  • Saves energy requiring only a small pump or gravity flow to create water pressure in household pipes or landscaping hoses.
  • Rainwater often has a nitrogen content which provides a slight fertilizing effect on landscapes.
  • Local erosion and flooding from impervious cover associated with buildings is lessened as a portion of local rainfall is diverted into collection tanks with less polluted stormwater to manage.
  • Rainwater is one of the purest sources of water available.  Its quality almost always exceeds that of surface or groundwater.

Did you know?

A house with a 1,000 square foot roof could "harvest" 600 gallons of rainwater from a one-inch rainfall.

To begin rainwater harvesting, complete the following procedures to "Making a Rain Barrell".