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Anyone for free water?

Anyone for free water?

The basics of rainwater harvesting

The next time it rains, look outside your window and observe. See your downspouts gushing with water and heading towards the nearest storm drain. Every time the rains falls, a wealth of water hits our roofs and pavement and we send it away.

While we’re constantly getting rid of water, we also pull it into our homes. The average person in Canada uses around 329 litres of water every single day, with about 65 percent being used in the bathroom. Water is a vital resource, and there’s no need for it to fall off our roofs into drains, it’s easy to harvest rainwater to utilize it on your property — and there are so many benefits.

I recently installed two rain barrels at my place and I constantly see it filling to the brim with every rainfall.  

Here are a few questions I often get from first-time rainwater harvesters:

Why bother?

Water is vital to life and demand for it keeps rising. It reduces your personal water consumption and automatically makes you an eco-warrior and overall good person (and your great grandkids will thank you).  Plus – it’s free!

What about mosquitos?

Some rain barrels come with mesh and screens to prevent mosquito larva from thriving. If not, try a permaculture method: remove the lids and add feeder goldfish, they will eat the mosquito larva and add nutrients to your water which your garden will love.

How many rain barrels will I need?

It depends on how much water you want to collect. Start by putting a rain barrel at the end of every downspout.  If you want to know the exact amount of water your roof can collect, there’s a formula for that. You can Google it.    

How much is this going to cost me, and where can I get them?

They range in price from $40-$85 depending on the quality of the material, size and features. You can find them at local home improvement stores and some local government offices.

Rain barrels are ugly, how can I make them look better?  

Agreed. Most rain barrels are an eyesore. Painting them is an option and the internet is full of DIY instructions. Another option is wrapping them in chicken wire and growing vines up the sides.

There are so many reasons to harvest rainwater — use it in your garden,  reduce water bills, help the environment, reduce flood risks — plus, it’s so easy.

Happy droplet catching!

Originally published in the Maskwacis Drum magazine September 2018 issue. 

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