Man has an intrinsic need for fresh water and has been collecting and storing rain water since the dawn of civilization. As technology advanced and plumbing became standardized the storing of water by individual households began to decline, to the point now, where the average citizen expects all of their fresh water needs to be supplied through a municipal system of pipes. This modern convenience has created a universal situation where the thoughtless waste of the most precious of life sustaining resources, fresh water, is quite common.
Water born contaminates and diseases have a long history of creating havoc and distress, thus all public water supplies are required to maintain a certain level of toxic chemicals that are necessary to destroy these contaminates. Having an unending supply of fresh water at your fingertips is a blessing indeed, but the necessary chemicals have a negative impact on the beautiful plant life in your garden.
Rain water is naturally soft, has no toxic chemical sanitizers and therefore plants thrive when watered with this precious bounty from nature. Rain water is also quite abundant, well over 40,000 gallons per year will run off of the average home in north Texas, the only thing missing for most residential gardens is a practical solution to catch and store this FREE water.
There are now many great options available for those who wish to catch and store rain water for reuse. Some of these options are:
- The most simple and affordable solution is to use buckets or pans placed under an areas of the roof where there is heavy runoff.
- A very practical and affordable solution is the repurposing of trash cans or open top barrels placed on blocks and covered with screening.
- Invest in a commercially produced “Rain Barrel” or cistern system.
- Construct your own rain water catchment system using recycled food grade plastic drums.
Many communities in an effort to maintain the appearance and appeal of neighborhoods have place strict restrictions on homeowners regarding what can and cannot be visible on their property. These restrictions often times will limit the storage options for many homeowners who wish to capture the rain.
There is also a valid public concern over mosquito borne diseases that are the result of mosquito populations breeding in standing water. This list of mosquito borne illness is quite extensive and attention to this detail is a must for all rain water storage solutions.
The repurposing of used poly food grade drums is one of the ideal solutions that many homeowners have turned too. These blue drums are truly ideal for rainwater storage and are easily converted to this purpose. These drums are found in two different colors, white and blue. The blue drums are the better choice as they block out the suns UV rays that promote the growth of algae and moss. The only modifications that are necessary is the cutting of an opening in the top of the drum and the cutting of a screening material to cover this opening. If one wants to get creative a hose bib or other valve can be inserted in the bottom or very low on the side of the drum for filing a watering can or to attach a water hose.
Having the drum elevated on cement blocks is also a necessary convenience when you want to fill a larger watering can from this outlet. No matter what storage solution you choose to utilize one must give some thought to where the water is going to be used. Having to carry buckets of water from one side of the house to another will certainly diminish the appeal of using rainwater for your plants.
Enjoy your garden and remember, your plants will thank you for using rainwater water and you will be doing your part to help protect our planet.