Rain in Union Square

Whether it’s because of the looming increase in water bills across the nation resulting from the ongoing drought,  or it’s the wealth of creative ways people are finding to harvest rainwater, the technique of rainwater collection is springing up in gardens throughout the United States. In fact, a recently published study conducted by The Home Depot found that one in four gardeners is opting to reap the rewards of heavy storms through a variety of rain collection alternatives.

Rain barrel This growing trend makes sense when you consider that just 1 inch of rainfall on a 1,000 square foot house is equivalent to 312 gallons of water (or close to eight, 40-gallon baths). Why let all that rain go to waste when storing it away for a non-rainy day requires little more than the use of your existing gutter, a water spout diverter, a screen filter and pretty much anything that can hold water?

Rain collection isn’t just a trend for experienced gardeners with established plots, either. According to the survey, about 15 percent of millennials, many with small but efficient urban gardens, report using rainwater collectors. One in five of these younger cloud harvesters are located in the increasingly arid West.

As for gardeners over the age of 35, the southern U.S. currently boasts 28 percent of its gardeners employing water collection techniques compared to other regions (although one might expect this trend to increase in the West, as well, if our current drought conditions continue).

Whether you do it for its cost-saving aspect, as a self-watering technique, as a way to irrigate an irregularly graded backyard or as a functional work of art, rainwater collection is a simple way to make the most out of your property’s natural resources, while spending very little of your resources—time and money.

Wondering how much rainwater you could be collecting from roof runoff alone? Check out the United States Geological Survey (USGS) rainfall calculator, which can estimate rainfall in areas from a couple of square feet to several square miles.

About the author

Kristin Hackler is an experienced gardener who lives in Charleston, South Carolina, and writes about gardening for The Home Depot. Kristin has a strong interest in sustainable gardening and water conservation. To view Home Depot’s wide selection of irrigation, rain barrel and other water-saving solutions, you can visit the company’s website.

Feature image courtesy of Several Seconds

By Earth911

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