Although I have two rain barrels installed at my home, I am very new at understanding rain water collection. One of mine is used to fill our watering can- something we use often to keep our flowers looking good. The other is hooked to a soaker hose and the spigot is left open all the time. This water is diverted from our roof to a natural area where the
excess water has allowed our spreading ground cover to grow at a rapid pace. Both systems help me grab roof water and recycle it for other purposes. During power outages, I also use collected rain water to keep my toilets filled so we can use the facilities when the well pump is without power.
Based on Virginia’s annual rain fall, a 1200 square foot roof produces 34,200 gallons of water each year! If we can create systems to catch 10% of this run-off, we would have more than enough water to keep our gardens and lawns watered, wash our cars, and keep our swimming pools filled. Many new green building programs are using this water to pump back into the home to fill our toilets. This takes an engineered system of filters and pumps to make use of this recycled water. The upfront costs associated with the design and implementation of rain water collection systems is outweighed by long term water savings and erosion control.
Water is our most precious resource, consider creating a collection system for your home. Start simple- a rain barrel connected to one gutter is a great place to start. You will be amazed at the amount of water you collect.