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-   -   Rainwater Harvesting. (

Hack 07-14-2009 04:27 PM

Rainwater Harvesting.
Anybody done this?

My landscape contractors are pushing me to install a system for irrigation of the new landscape.


Nestor_Kelebay 07-14-2009 07:34 PM

When I was growing up as a kid in my home town of Selkirk, Manitoba, LOTS of people would do it.

You simply position a "rain barrel" under the downspout from your roof's gutters to collect the rain water that falls on your roof. The rain barrel behind our house was about 4 feet in diameter and about 6 feet high. It sat on a bed of railway ties, and there was a spigot at the bottom of the rain barrel that you could connect a garden hose to. My mom would use that water to irrigate the garden she grew behind our house. When she pulled up the last of the vegetables she grew in the fall, my dad would keep collecting water in that barrel during the rains we got before the cold weather came in October and November or until it got to below freezing at night. He connected that spigot to our downstairs toilet through a basement window so that when we flushed that toilet, the tank would be refilled with rain water from the rain barrel. Both irrigating the garden and refilling the toilet were done entirely by gravity.

I think if you ask anyone who's over 40 and grew up on the prairies, they'll ALL remember the rain barrels that people used to have behind their houses for growing their gardens. I expect that if you go to any garden center where they sell seeds for growing vegetables, you could probably still buy a rain barrel.

We also had a "burning barrel" behind our house for burning our garbage in, but as the town grew, they passed a by-law outlawing them because the sparks from them would cause grass fires on a windy day. I myself had a bit of a scare when I was burning some stuff in our burning barrel and a small field behind our house caught on fire. I ended up stamping the small fires out with my shoes, but I had a hard time keeping up with them, and I got a good scare that I wouldn't be able to get the fires under control and that this situation was gonna get out of hand. It's those kind of emotional moments that you remember your whole life. I was only about 9 or 10 years old at the time.

We lived in an older area of town where most people had gardens beside or behind their houses, and it seemed like it was normal to have a rain barrel. It's only when I got older and made friends in school that lived on other streets that I met kids that didn't have rain barrels or burning barrels.

I remember that my mother had a bug screen over the top of our rain barrel and the rain water poured onto the screen and through it. I understood at the time it was to prevent both bugs and dandylion seeds from getting into the water.

You don't see rain barrels behind houses anymore, and I'm not sure why not. I can't see any problem collecting the rain that's going to fall on the ground anyway, and use it for irrigating the ground in a more advantageous manner.

inspectorD 07-15-2009 05:42 AM

I guess it depends on where you live nowadays. Around here in farm country of CT, folks still capture water for gardens and livestock. Some in ponds and others in cisterns or barrels. The blue barrels folks use for food oils and syrups are available on craigslist or freecycle. I'm sure you could find a watering hole at the agway in town also.
As for a watering system like an inground sprinkler, my thoughts are ...waste of energy and money. Grass can be watered by garden hose or drip hose. Unless you are obsessed with a wonderful lawn. Personally I like to put my time into the garden and fruit trees or berry bushes on our get more from them.;)

Someone always wants to sell you the newest , state of the art, can't possibly go without, gadget to make your life soooo much simpler so you can sit round the computer or TV.
Good luck with your decision....stepping off soapbox.:D

dakuda 07-15-2009 08:08 AM

I have thought about rainwater collection, especially from the roof runoff. I have yet to do anythign about it, but the idea to me seems sound. It is not like I need city water to water my bushes. My only concern is the amount that would be collected in my area. We go through spurts out here.

kok328 07-15-2009 01:54 PM

Haven't had any rain in MI to speak of in over a month.
However, what comes to mind is how to you prevent the whole thing from becoming a breeding ground for mesquito's?

inspectorD 07-15-2009 04:51 PM

I add a cup O bleach once and a while, seems to work fine. They also sell those dunk things at the box store if your not sure.
I have also seen folks put a salt block on top of the screen that goes into the tank...don't really know how well it works.

Nestor_Kelebay 07-15-2009 06:16 PM

I don't see why one couldn't just fit a cover made of expanded metal to fit over the rain barrel and then lay a screen over that expanded metal.

The female mosquito lays her eggs directly on the water's surface, so if she can't get through the screen, she'll find somewhere else to lay her eggs. Also, during the development of the mosquito larva in the water, it breathes air through a tube from the surface. So, I think the mosquito would want to lay her eggs in calm stagnant water to prevent that air tube from getting flooded. During a rainstorm, the surface of a rain barrel is anything but calm.

go sunny 08-05-2009 10:15 PM

I would support green living very much and actually doing it by growing own vegetables in the garden, I have been collecting rain water for gardening and very effectively to save water. However, I don't collect a great amount of rain water.

go sunny 08-08-2009 09:12 AM

support any green living, collecting rain water for gardening and planting is an important part of environmental concern, my mother is growing organic vegetables for our family. I have learned how to build water solar panels, and so far so good. and the devices did save some money for me too.

Green 08-17-2009 12:38 PM

Rainwater collection
Rainwater collection is still popular and considered eco friendly. There are commercial options available (of varying quality) some with pumps and hoses others with filters (debris and modern pollution being a concern). Safety is also a consideration keeping the rainbarrel covered in some way.

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