By Collecting Rainwater….
Rain barrels and cisterns are not a new idea – people have been using rain barrels, or cisterns, for thousands of years to capture and store free water from the sky. Historical records show that rainwater was collected in simple clay containers as far back as 2,000 years ago. In recent years, they have regained their popularity as drought conditions have persisted and local utility companies have raised rates.
A one-inch rain event can generate up to 623 gallons of water on a 1,000 square foot roof, enough to fill over ten 55 gallon rain barrels! Tennessee receives, on average, 47 inches of rainfall per year. Assuming it was possible to catch all 47 inches of rain, almost 30,000 gallons of reusable water could be collected each year from the average Tennessee roof – more than enough for most families’ outdoor water needs.
Since 30-40% of a home’s summer water bill can go toward outdoor water use, a rain barrel can be part of the solution. Water collected in rain barrels isn’t drinkable, but it’s perfect for lawns and gardens and for use in ponds and birdbaths. Rainwater is naturally soft and free of minerals, chlorine, fluoride and other chemicals, so plants thrive on it. Water collected from rain barrels and cisterns can be used for washing cars, decks and windows, too.