Is a Rain Barrel Worthwhile?

2222In my last post I wrote about rain barrels and my interest in them as a means of supplying water for my lawn. This is of particular interest to me now since Georgia has been in a severe drought since at least 2007, if not earlier. On October 20, 2007 Governor Sonny Purdue declared a state of emergency due to the drought. Our watering probably will continue to be restricted for some time. Collecting water in a rain barrel allows someone to maintain their lawn or garden without putting a strain on the local water supply.

But before making a rain barrel, I need to answer two questions: 1) how much water do I need to apply to my lawn? and 2) can I collect enough water to make a rain barrel worthwhile? My gardening resource, Month-by-Month Gardening in Georgia by Walter Reeves and Erica Glasener, recommends my lawn receive 1 inch of water per week during the growing season, from about April through August. Despite the drought, it does rain during the summer in Georgia, so I don’t have to apply all the water. But just how much does it rain?  I obtained 2008 monthly rainfall for my area in northeast Georgia from the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration’s National Weather Service.

2008 monthly rainfall in Athens, Georgia

2008 monthly rainfall in Athens, Georgia

You’ll notice from the table that during a drought year like 2008, I would need to apply water throughout the growing season, about April through August. The most water I would need to apply, assuming a year like 2008, is 2.78 inches per month, or about 2/3 inch per week. But what size rain barrel do I need to hold a month’s worth of watering? This depends on the size of your lawn. My lawn is 1085 square feet. I’m estimating that at worst I will have to apply 2.78 inches, or 0.23 feet, of water. I calculate the amount, or volume, of water I need by multiplying the square feet of lawn (1085) by the feet of water I must apply (0.23). This gives me 249.55 cubic feet of water. But who measures water in cubic feet? I want to know how many gallons of water I need to be able to store in a rain barrel. To convert the amount, or volume, of water from cubic feet to gallons, I multiply the cubic feet of water (249.55) by 7.48. That comes out to about 1,867 gallons per month, or about 467 gallons per week. The typical rain barrel seen for sale or demonstrated in a workshop is about 55 gallons. To make a dent in the watering requirement of my small lawn during the worst months, I would need to buy at least one 225-gallon rain barrel. I’d buy two of these barrels if I wanted to be completely independent of the local utility for my outdoor watering needs.

Now that I know how many rain barrels I’d need to water my lawn, can I collect enough water from my roof? In the worst month of 2008 (June), a 2,500 square foot or larger house, including any garage or porch, would have been able to collect enough water for my lawn for the same month. If your house is smaller, not a problem. You may be able to store water from previous months. And most importantly, this isn’t an all-or-nothing deal. You just have to decide how much water saving is enough to justify the investment in a rain barrel.

There is one more issue to consider that I haven’t mentioned: application. I need water pressure so that it doesn’t take forever to water the lawn. I could simply elevate the rain barrels and hope gravity helps enough. But I prefer something a little more high tech: a pump. I can attach a pump such as the Wayne 1/2 HP Portable Pump to the spigot of the rain barrel. Then I can attach a hose directly to the pump for watering my lawn, or anything else. I’d have to plug in the pump with an outdoor extension cord whenever I need to use it. If I choose to use multiple rain barrels I can connect them with some PVC piping so I only have to buy one pump. Of course, if you just want to water some plants in your small garden, the pressure from gravity will likely suffice.

If your roof collects more water than you think you can use via a rain barrel, you may want to consider creating a rain garden. In an upcoming post I’ll briefly describe how to create a rain garden on your property and provide resources to help you get started.

Photo Credit


77 Responses to “Is a Rain Barrel Worthwhile?”

  1. That’s our double barrel set-up pictured above. We don’t collect near enough to solely handle our middle-of-summer needs her in Virginia, but it does do something.

  2. look out.
    the state of colorado is after rain barrel-ers.

    http://www.boingboing.net/2009/03/18/people-who-use-barre.html

  3. Today, while I was at work, my sister stole my iPad and tested to see if
    it can survive a forty foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My
    apple ipad is now destroyed and she has 83 views.
    I know this is totally off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  4. This paragraph will assist the internet users for building up new web site or even a blog from start to end.

  5. I’ve been surfing online more than 4 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours.
    It is pretty worth enough for me. In my view, if all webmasters and bloggers made
    good content as you did, the web will be a lot more useful than ever before.

  6. I think the admin of this site is really working hard in support of his website,
    because here every material is quality based information.

  7. What’s Happening i am new to this, I stumbled upon this
    I have discovered It positively useful and it has aided me out loads.
    I am hoping to contribute & assist other customers like its helped me.

    Great job.

  8. I’d like to find out more? I’d love to find out more details.

  9. What’s up, yeah this piece of writing is really good and I have learned lot of things
    from it on the topic of blogging. thanks.

  10. What’s up to all, how is everything, I think every one is getting more from this website,
    and your views are nice for new people.

  11. Hi, I log on to your new stuff daily. Your humoristic style
    is witty, keep up the good work!

  12. Although web sites we backlink to below are considerably not associated to ours, we really feel they may be truly worth a go by way of, so have a look.

  13. Good day! I know this is kinda off topic but I’d figured I’d ask.
    Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest writing a blog post or vice-versa?
    My site goes over a lot of the same topics as yours
    and I believe we could greatly benefit from each other.
    If you might be interested feel free to send me an e-mail.
    I look forward to hearing from you! Great blog by the way!

  14. just beneath, are quite a few entirely not connected websites to ours, having said that, they’re certainly really worth going over

  15. Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a couple of unrelated information, nevertheless really really worth taking a appear, whoa did one understand about Mid East has got more problerms at the same time

  16. Here are several of the web pages we recommend for our visitors

  17. I am not sure where you are getting your information, but good
    topic. I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding more.

    Thanks for fantastic info I was looking for this information for my mission.

  18. Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a number of unrelated data, nonetheless seriously really worth taking a appear, whoa did a single find out about Mid East has got far more problerms at the same time

  19. Every the moment inside a while we pick blogs that we study. Listed below would be the newest internet sites that we decide on

  20. The information mentioned within the write-up are some of the best offered

  21. that is the finish of this post. Right here you will uncover some sites that we feel you will enjoy, just click the hyperlinks over

  22. Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a number of unrelated information, nevertheless genuinely really worth taking a look, whoa did one particular study about Mid East has got extra problerms at the same time

  23. below you will discover the link to some internet sites that we assume you’ll want to visit

  24. that is the finish of this write-up. Here you?ll come across some internet sites that we believe you?ll value, just click the links over

  25. we like to honor several other online web sites on the internet, even if they aren?t linked to us, by linking to them. Below are some webpages worth checking out

  26. please pay a visit to the web pages we stick to, which includes this one particular, as it represents our picks in the web

  27. here are some links to web pages that we link to because we consider they’re worth visiting

  28. the time to study or visit the material or web sites we have linked to below the

  29. Here are some of the web sites we advocate for our visitors

  30. Here is an excellent Weblog You might Find Fascinating that we Encourage You

  31. Here is a superb Blog You might Come across Fascinating that we Encourage You

  32. Every the moment inside a even though we pick out blogs that we study. Listed below would be the most recent websites that we decide on

  33. although web sites we backlink to below are considerably not connected to ours, we feel they’re really really worth a go via, so have a look

  34. that would be the end of this write-up. Right here you will obtain some web sites that we assume you will value, just click the hyperlinks over

  35. Every when in a although we pick out blogs that we study. Listed below would be the most current sites that we pick out

  36. Here are a few of the web pages we advocate for our visitors

  37. we came across a cool website that you just could possibly appreciate. Take a appear for those who want

  38. The data mentioned within the report are a few of the ideal offered

  39. we like to honor lots of other online web sites around the web, even though they aren?t linked to us, by linking to them. Underneath are some webpages worth checking out

  40. Every the moment inside a though we choose blogs that we read. Listed below are the latest sites that we decide on

  41. This is really fascinating, You’re an excessively
    skilled blogger. I have joined your rss feed and sit up
    for in quest of more of your wonderful post.
    Also, I have shared your website in my social networks

  42. I am now not positive the place you are getting your info, however great topic.
    I needs to spend a while studying more or understanding
    more. Thank you for wonderful info I was in search of this info for my mission.

  43. although internet sites we backlink to beneath are considerably not related to ours, we really feel they may be essentially really worth a go via, so have a look

  44. please pay a visit to the websites we adhere to, such as this a single, as it represents our picks in the web

  45. always a big fan of linking to bloggers that I really like but do not get a whole lot of link enjoy from

  46. usually posts some incredibly fascinating stuff like this. If you are new to this site

  47. please pay a visit to the web pages we adhere to, which includes this one, as it represents our picks through the web

  48. although websites we backlink to below are considerably not connected to ours, we feel they are essentially worth a go by way of, so have a look

  49. we prefer to honor quite a few other world wide web sites around the net, even when they aren?t linked to us, by linking to them. Below are some webpages worth checking out

  50. Here is a great Blog You may Uncover Intriguing that we Encourage You

  51. Here is a great Blog You may Discover Interesting that we Encourage You

  52. Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine some unrelated information, nonetheless really really worth taking a appear, whoa did a single study about Mid East has got additional problerms too

  53. we prefer to honor many other internet sites around the net, even if they aren?t linked to us, by linking to them. Under are some webpages really worth checking out

  54. Every as soon as in a even though we pick out blogs that we read. Listed below would be the most up-to-date sites that we choose

  55. usually posts some really exciting stuff like this. If you?re new to this site

  56. I am regular visitor, how are you everybody? This article posted at this website is truly pleasant.

  57. we came across a cool web page that you simply might appreciate. Take a search should you want

  58. Here are several of the web-sites we advise for our visitors

  59. Thanks very nice blog!

  60. please stop by the web pages we adhere to, like this a single, as it represents our picks in the web

  61. Here are a few of the sites we suggest for our visitors

  62. here are some hyperlinks to internet sites that we link to mainly because we assume they are really worth visiting

  63. we came across a cool web site that you simply may well delight in. Take a search in case you want

  64. Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a couple of unrelated data, nonetheless seriously really worth taking a search, whoa did a single study about Mid East has got extra problerms too

  65. we came across a cool web page that you might take pleasure in. Take a look if you want

  66. The information and facts mentioned inside the article are a number of the most beneficial obtainable

  67. always a massive fan of linking to bloggers that I really like but do not get a great deal of link enjoy from

  68. Sites of interest we’ve a link to

  69. although web sites we backlink to below are considerably not related to ours, we feel they may be truly worth a go through, so possess a look

  70. below you?ll locate the link to some web sites that we assume you need to visit

  71. always a huge fan of linking to bloggers that I love but really don’t get quite a bit of link enjoy from

  72. Ahaa, its fastidious discussion concerning this paragraph here at
    this blog, I have read all that, so at this time me also commenting here.

  73. Sites of interest we have a link to

  74. we like to honor lots of other web web-sites on the internet, even though they aren?t linked to us, by linking to them. Under are some webpages worth checking out

  75. one of our guests a short while ago proposed the following website

  76. Everything is very open with a clear clarification of the challenges.
    It was really informative. Your website is very helpful.
    Thanks for sharing!

  77. always a massive fan of linking to bloggers that I enjoy but don?t get lots of link like from

Leave a Reply

You can use these XHTML tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

ss_blog_claim=09f600f8621dcbdcc85df20ccc1d59ab