Benefits of rain barrels
If you live in the Bay Area, you have probably noticed that our water is getting "harder". This is because of the minerals that are being dredged up from the bottom of reservoirs and ground water sources. It's not necessarily a bad thing (unless you are a coffeemaker or an iron), but it doesn't taste as good as it used to. Unlike the water that comes out of our faucets, rain water collected in rain barrels is free of chlorine and other chemicals used to make it potable. Watering container plants and in-ground plants with water from rain barrels means less potable water is being used. If you wash your hair from rain water, you may find that your hair feels softer.
Your average 2700 sq. ft. roof in the Bay Area can collect more than 25,000 gallons of water each year. Most rain barrels are significantly smaller than that, so you will only be able to collect so much before that water has to go someplace else, but it still ends up saving on your water bill.
The down side of rain barrels
As good as rain barrels are at conserving water, there are certain things you should know before you go shopping for your very own Amazing Rain Catcher. Here is what I have learned:
Now, I’m not trying to discourage you. As I said, I have three rain barrels and I use them year round. In the peak of summer, if I have managed my 65-gallon rain barrels properly, they give me a total of 195 gallons of rain water to use on my plants that would have had to come from the taps.
Let me know if you have any questions about rain barrels in the comments section.
I hope this information inspires you to grow more of your own food. You can ask your garden questions on my Home page.