Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Using Rainwater To Water Your Garden

Many South Africans are very excited because the warm weather has come in early. In terms of gardening, it's very good news, because it means avid gardeners can get out more often, do some planting much earlier than they would have otherwise.

And I am tempted to follow suit. But I've been grappling with the fact that I do live in a city and rely on municipal water to water my garden. And when I first started my garden last year, the idea was that I would mostly rain water so that I don't consume more than my fair share, and can keep the water bill down despite having a thriving vegetable garden.

So I have been doing some reading on using rainwater to save water for your garden. Here is an article which I found on Ezine Articles, which touches on the issue. I hope you find it useful.

I'm also going to look into other water-saving options that do not prevent me from getting on with my garden.
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Rain Barrel Stands - Using Rainwater to Save Water
By Yaminah Jappah

It's that time of year that makes us constantly stare out our windows (and clocks) when we're at work, eagerly waiting to enjoy the warmth of the sunlight and what would generally be known as a "beautiful day." You arrive home, are ready to relax, only to find on the kitchen counter the one thing that could turn this dreamy carriage of a day into a rotten pumpkin coach: your water bill.

Your water bill may not be very high... yet
During the warmer months of spring and summer water use increases by up to 50% in most American homes. Tasks such as watering the lawn, gardening, and washing the car are completed more frequently. This spike in water use of course produces a spike in the water bill as it is in addition to the water used indoors throughout the entire year. Although some states may have watering restrictions, the hotter months can be especially harsh on local water supplies. Investing in a rain water harvesting system will prove to be an efficient solution to this yearly problem.

Financially and Environmentally Friendly

Making use of rain barrel stands will benefit both you and the environment. They help decrease the amount of residential water used, as you will be using [free] rainwater to complete outdoor tasks. A rain water harvesting system can store up to 60 gallons of rain water. During summer peak months one barrel alone can save just about 1,300 gallons of water. That is the equivalent of fifty-two 10-minute showers in the average home! A rain water barrel can be connected to another rain barrel to further increase your water savings while decreasing your water bill.

Typically, rainwater normally pours off the roof directly or flows through roof gutter downspouts and becomes stormwater runoff. Stormwater runoff can contain pollutants such as oil, sediment, grease, nutrients and bacteria. Collecting rainwater reduces the amount of stormwater runoff and increases the amount of groundwater. In addition, these US manufactured barrels are made from recycled shipping barrel.

What is a typical rain water barrel like?

The Great American Rain Barrel Company has produced rain barrel stands designed to be incredibly durable; as they obviously must be placed outside in often harsh conditions to collect the rainwater (makes sense, right?). The wall thickness on these UV protected polyethylene rain barrels is such that the barrels can virtually last forever. This allows the rain barrel to pay for itself within a matter of months, and continue to save you money as long as you are willing to use it.

The rain water barrel from the Great American Rain Barrel Company includes a threaded spigot placed 14" from the ground, a second spigot 4" off the ground for a normal garden hose, a screw on cover, drain plug, and overflow fitting, as well as an instruction manual for simple installation. The barrel can be placed on a crate or block to add height. In addition, it includes a screen cover to stop debris from mixing with the rainwater you collect. These are all the tools you will need to install and use your rain barrel stands and begin to save water and money on water bills.

The rain water harvesting system can be used throughout the summer months with ease. However, during the colder months of winter the rain water barrel should be removed. If left standing through the winter it can fall victim to ice damage. Once the seasons change and that warm weather is back, place your rain barrel stands back out there for collecting rainwater, and once again this water will be ready when needed without burdening the local water supply system or your wallet.


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