Saving up for a rainy day takes on new meaning
Posted on 04/15/2021
Rain against the window. Photo from Pexels: Brianna MartinezFriends of the Rouge has launched an initiative to help restore clean water to the Rouge River by achieving 6,000 rain barrels in active use across the watershed by 2025.

If you want to be part of this initiative, simply install a rain barrel near your home or garage below a downspout to catch rainwater from the roof. You will need to cut the downspout since it will no longer drain to the ground but approximately 5 feet off the ground, into the barrel.

For a gravity-pressurized system, raise the rain barrel higher off the ground using cinderblocks, a tree trunk, bricks, 4 x 4’s, or other solid material that won’t shift under the weight of a filled (50-gallon) barrel. Approximately 2 feet of height equals 1 pound of water pressure.

A rain barrel can be purchased or hand-made. It’s practical to have a spigot to let water flow from it and a valve to connect a hose for easy use of stored water. Place the rain barrel close to the area that needs the most water.

Recycled rainwater can be used to water your lawn, water non-edible plants and wash patio furniture or even your car. Because it contains pollutants from the air, this recycled water cannot be consumed or used to wash produce or water your vegetable garden.

Installing a rain barrel has many advantages, including:
• Cut your water bill by using captured rain water on your landscaping or lawn
• Reduce flooding and erosion at your home and community
• Protect local streams and rivers
• Reduce your carbon footprint.

The Friends of the Rouge website notes that rain barrels are available in countless styles and colors, so you’re guaranteed to find one that looks great at your home. See examples online or visit a local hardware store. Try to pick a barrel color that looks great so you can proudly show your neighbors.