If you have been in the market for a rain barrel or water collection and storage system then you may be aware that they can cost a bit of money. However, there are some advantages that you should be aware of before letting the price be a turn off for you.
Basically, the rain barrels are used to collect rain water to be store for later use. I like them because they sit quietly and collect all that rain water through the damp part of
the year. Then when the dry parts of the summer hit you can use it to water without increasing the water utility bill. Then you are using the God given rain rather than paying “the man” to use his water. It can be a good savings in the long run. I’m not saying it will pay for itself in a summer or anything, but the other advantages will definitely make it worthwhile.
According to some literature I read at the Miami-Dade County Extension Service a rain barrel can help you save about 1300 gallons ofwater during those summer months. If you get a couple of these rain barrels and divert the water from your storm drains you can collect a ton of water to be used later on. Now if you figure that almost half of your watering takes place during the summer months then you can be collecting that water during the rainy periods and have ample water stored to use during those free times.
Another great thing about these is that you will be using a source of soft water on your plants that will not contain any lime, chlorine or other chemicals that plants do not tend to like very well.
A really cool idea I found to use a rain barrel for is to use it to make a compost tea. Basically you can put compost material in a pillowcase and then dip that in your rain barrel. Over time you will brew up a mean compost fertilizer mix ready to go at the push of the button on the spigot. I think that is a genius way to use these. And, the organic folks out there should really get a kick out of it.
Like I said, the water barrels are not cheap. You can expect to spend close to $100 on the low end. Then if you get accessories for it like the water diverters, hoses, etc then you will need to spend a little more.
So, you will have to decide if the cost is justified to you. To me they are worth it because I have a couple that I use to collect water. I will probably be implementing one of them to do the compost mix I talked about earlier so I am pretty excited about that. We just had a drought here where I live this year and are still on water rationing as I write this. But, thanks to my rain barrels, I can use them to keep my flowers and plants nice and perky through these dry months so they have been worth it for me.
So, if you are in the market for a rain barrel, then hopefully you have seen the advantages of owning one. I understand they are not some cheap bucket to sit out and collect water with. They are decorative and practical if you get certain ones. But, to me, they have been a blessing since I am interested in doing things organically.