A system of collecting rainwater for future use can mean many things. It can mean simply leaving a bucket outside to catch rainfall, or designing an elaborate system of dispersed collection sites that drain into a large, communal cistern. In between these extremes is a spectrum of methods to take advantage of naturally occurring rainfall in order to water your garden. Rainwater harvesting is a way to conserve your area’s resources. Your area’s water supply is needed for indoor activities, and rainfall is better for your plants, since it is not chlorinated. Rainwater collection is a win-win from both perspectives.
One of the easiest methods to yield a higher volume of water than simply leaving a bucket outside involves using a structure’s roof. Most roofs simply drain rainwater to a place that won’t damage the building, letting the water pool into a sewer or a patch of ground, which wastes the water. Instead, you can store all of this drained water in a container for later use. The simplest way to do this is to place a barrel underneath your gutter’s spout to connect the rainfall. Then, you hook up a garden hose to the barrel. Depending on your needs, you may need smaller or larger barrels, or you may need more complex systems of piping in order to distribute the stored water to different areas on your land. Rainwater collection may even be your first step toward a true green roof.
Rainwater collection is one of the simplest approaches your community can take to become more sustainable.