Rain barrels catch and conserve water
Rainwater harvesting can reduce flooding and erosion issues, as well as surface-water contamination, by slowing down and decreasing the volume of stormwater runoff. One way to harvest rainwater is by using a catchment technique such as rain barrels.
Rain barrels are often set up to collect rain running off a roof into a gutter and downspout. A typical barrel holds 60 gallons and is fitted with a valve for filling a watering can, feeding a drip irrigation system, or serving as part of a rain garden system.
In June, the Wells Reserve and SD Analysis hosted the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association workshop and accreditation course. As part of the course, participants installed a rain barrel at the Alheim Commons, using runoff from the bike shed to fill a barrel in the community garden.
The Wells Reserve sponsors a program that subsidizes the production and installation of rain barrels. Field observations of the installed systems will be used to improve the effectiveness of local rainwater catchment systems.
Cindy Dabrowski-Kennie and Tim Spahr contributed to this article.
[Watermark 27(1): Spring 2010]