No doubt you’ve heard about the lengthy drought in California. According to the National Centers for Environmental Information, 25% of the contiguous U.S. fell into the moderate to extreme drought category at the end of April, 2015.

 

Rain Drop in Barrel

 

In many places stream flows have been low. Couple that with seasonal dryness, the possibility of abnormal warmth and a poor snowpack, and this summer the drought will persist and increase across the West and Pacific Northwest. Even if you don’t live in a state dealing with high drought levels, you may very well be asked to restrict your water use by your state, county or city as a precautionary measure. You can prepare for that now.

Advantages of Collecting Rainwater

The water that falls from the sky can be yours for free. After a rainfall of just one-inch, more than 900 gallons of water comes off your home or barn roof if the structure is at least 30 feet x 50 feet. Rainwater doesn’t contain any of the trace chemicals found in your tap water so it’s healthier for your yard. Collecting it can be fairly easy and then you can use it to water your garden, indoor plants and anything else outside that needs H2O. Some states, most notably California and Arizona, may even pay you to do so.

 

Closeup Rain Barrel

 

The simplest way to harvest rainwater involves adding a water diverter to the existing downspout of your gutters and then placing a container for storage of the water beneath the downspout. You can do this on your house and on any outbuildings you have on your property.

Rain Barrels Don’t Have to Be Ugly

Rainwater collecting containers haven’t always been an attractive addition to a well-manicured yard. Suggestions to use old food barrels, plastic garbage containers and the like may well fall on deaf ears for people who take great pride in their landscapes. Now some innovative companies have heard the plea for better looking rain barrels and brought them to the marketplace. If you’d like to make your rain barrel fit into your front or backyard, here are some ideas to get you started.

 

Potted Rain Barrel

 

For example:

1. Good Ideas Rain Wizard Rock: Camouflaged in a granite-textured faux rock, this rain barrel has a 42 gallon capacity.

2. Sandstone Rain Water Urn with Planter:  A complete rainwater collection kit where the container looks more like decorative pottery than a tank. Plant a colorful flower in the top and nobody needs to know that the pot below collects 50 gallons of rainwater.

3. RTS Home Accents 50-Gallon Rain Water Collection Barrel: Good-looking barrels can actually be eye-catching. This one looks like an authentic barrel, has a brass spigot and holds a plant in its top.

4. Koolatron 55-Gallon Rain Barrel: Looks like stone, but lasts like plastic. A screen over the top keeps out bugs and leaves.

5. Exaco 105-Gallon Brick Wall Rain Barrel: Looks just like a brick wall and blends in with your yard décor perfectly. Made of plastic, and includes downspout connection kit.

6. RTS Rock Fountain Rain Collector: Harvest 29 gallons of rainwater and have a water feature, too. A self-contained pump keeps the water bubbling, while spigots on the side allow for filling watering cans and attaching a hose.

7. Hand-Painted Rain Barrels:  Know a budding artist? Let him or her paint the design of your choice on a plastic rain barrel, making it completely your own.

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