If you are considering ways in which you can reduce your ecological footprint, one of the many improvements you should consider is rainwater collection. Water, and ways to sustainably use it, continues to be a hot topic as we seek to improve our environment.
Rainwater collection is a fairly simple process and need not be an expensive step to take. At its most basic, a barrel attached to the gutter system of your home collects the rain run-off from your roof. On the other end, large underground cisterns with water pumps collect huge amounts of run-off. For our purpose, we will look at the simple barrel system as it is the most accessible and can make for a simple afternoon project.
Barrels for rainwater collection can be found at most gardening or home improvement stores. If you can not find one locally, there are many web sites to purchase them from. An internet search should turn up dozens of sites. Regardless of where you find yours, be on the lookout for a few basic features.
First, where the water comes into the barrel there should be some method of filtering out debris, such as twigs and leaves. This usually takes the form of a screen mesh filter. You will occasionally need to clear these off.
Second, there should be a spigot near the bottom of the barrel. This is so you can attach a hose to it. This is particularly useful if you intend water your lawn or garden with your collected rainwater.
When installing a barrel collector, you will likely need to modify the down-spout of your gutter. In Indianapolis, there are a number of gutter services that you can hire to do this for you, if you are not comfortable doing it yourself. An online search or a quick trip to the phone book will provide a number of leads.
What they will do is cut your gutter to the proper length. They will also likely need to attach a directional segment to the gutter so that it reaches the collection opening at the top of the barrel.
Before installing a rainwater collection barrel, take some time to consider how you are going to use it. If you plan to water your lawn or garden and want to use a hose, be sure the barrel is at a higher elevation. While you will not get the same pressure as you would with standard plumbing, gravity works in your favor. Additionally, if the spigot is at a more comfortable height, it will be easier to fill buckets or other containers.
Among the many things you can do to reduce your ecological footprint and improve water sustainability, a rainwater collection system is among the easiest and least expensive.