As Vancouver is hit by a drought and water restrictions are put in place many homeowners are looking at their yellowing grass and wondering what to do. When it comes to watering the best option outside of much needed rainfall is to keep some rainwater on hand for later.
Rain barrels allow you to capture and store rainwater during a storm and then use it later on. They are becoming increasingly common and popular. The barrels are affordable and easy to install. They come in a range of sizes and styles. Once in place they act as a quality water source for your yard. However, it’s not potable so you shouldn’t drink the stored water or use it on plants you plan to eat. There are numerous benefits to installing a rain barrel.
Reduce pollution and runoff during storms
Water that runs off into storm drains and gutters flows directly into streams, rivers and the ocean. Water that drains through soil is filtered and takes a more natural drainage path. While storm drains have an important drainage role to play water entering them often comes into contact with fertilizer, dirt, oil and other chemicals in our cities. These chemicals can have negative effects on bodies of water including increasing algae growth and potential toxins in the water. Capturing water in a rain barrel reduces the amount entering the storm drains and gutters.
Runoff also contributes to erosion. As soil disappears with runoff it can damage the landscape. Keeping water for later to enter through the soil in your yard and garden prevents erosion from happening as water rushes into drains.
Keep watering during watering bans
The watering ban only stops you from watering using sources that come out of city reservoirs. You are still free to water using the reserves stored up in your rain barrel. No more need to worry about having your favourite herbs and flowers die during a drought.
The water that falls from the sky is absolutely free for use. Unlike your tap water, which you pay for, rainwater costs nothing. After the start up costs of buying a rain barrel you save money. After a few fills the rain barrel starts to pay for itself.
It’s better for your grass and plants
Rainwater is the most natural form of water to use on your plants and grass. When it doesn’t want to fall from the sky you can still keep a supply of this high quality water on hand. It is oxygenated and doesn’t contain salts, fluoride and other chemicals that are often in your tap water. Your plants will grow better and look better when you use rain barrel water on them.
Not all homeowners or tenants would benefit from the use of a rain barrel. It depends on the type of setting you are in and the size of rain barrel you end up buying. Those who have a small yard, no garden or low maintenance drought resistance plants probably don’t need a backup water source. Those who garden a lot and have plants that wilt without water should consider them to protect the environment, save money, have healthier plants and as a water source during droughts.