April showers fill my rain barrel for May flowers

Commentary by Rachel Anne Spencer
Times-News correspondent

Rain barrels can collect water used for watering plants, washing cars and more. / Metro Creative Graphics

Did you know it takes 110 gallons of water to grow one pound of corn? Watering your lawn and garden from a hose can use three to 10 gallons per minute. If you’re planning on having a garden or green lawn, you could easily end up increasing your water bills and water consumption. Rain barrels are a great alternative to using a hose hooked-up to municipal or well water.

In addition to catching rain water that would otherwise go to waste, rain barrels reduce water runoff that carries pollution into our lakes and streams; it controls the level of moisture around the foundation of homes; and reduces water bills. The water collected by rain barrels is not good for human consumption, but it can be used to water plants, fill pools, bird baths, hot tubs and fountains, wash your car, rinse off gardening tools and keep compost bins moist.

Rain barrels can be found at most home improvement stores; some come ready-made and some require assembly. You can also make your own using the tutorials found on do-it-yourself sites, such as the following; tylertork.com/diyrainbarrels/construction.html.

To prevent mosquitoes from using your rain barrel as a breeding ground, cover the top of your rain barrel with a screen and seal all other openings. If you plan on using your rain barrel for lawn and garden uses, it’s a good idea to include a faucet at the bottom of the barrel for hose hookup.

Rain barrels are a more environmentally-friendly way to maintain your lawn and gardens. They can potentially save you money on your water bills. An investment in rain barrels is a “drop in the bucket” compared to the money you can save with time, not to mention the part you’ll play in ensuring a clean water supply for future generations.

 Rachel Anne Spencer is a home-schooled junior and a Teens & Twenties writer.



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