Friday, August 22, 2008

Singing in the Rain

Georgia is right smack dab in the middle of a long drought and has severely restricted its water usage. Everyone, it seems, is jumping on the rain barrel brigade in response to the shortage of water and higher water bills.  I have wanted a rain barrel for quite some time, long before the drought began, and finally broke down and bought one last spring. I splurged and bought one from a local nursery, but I have read that it is quite easy to make an inexpensive one from a food grade storage barrel.  The only intimidating part of the installation is the cut you must make into your down-spout to connect the gutter to the barrel.  Thankfully, I have a handy dad who was willing to help with the install, but if not, it really is easy to do.  My daughter's elementary school even has one in their little garden they have established for the kids to enjoy.  

It takes just one good rain to fill the barrel up, so you must have an overflow pipe or diverter if you don't want water pouring out the top of your barrel during a rainstorm.  There are a couple of other things you may want to consider.  It might be wise to add a couple of capfuls of bleach to the water in the barrel to help with the smell of algae build-up.  In addition, you are going to want a good screen in the top of your barrel to keep critters and debris out of the water.  If you purchase a rain barrel, it will most likely already have one. But if you are constructing your own, make sure you add that element.

While one rain barrel is not going to solve the drought problem or all of your watering woes, it takes just one good rain for it to start making a difference in your yard.  Or you could be like a friend of mine who has four barrels and is thinking of adding another one this fall...

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