Rain Barrels: A Win-Win for All
By: Jeannie Voeks
Happy Earth Day Month! Let’s talk about one simple thing we can do for Mother this year in promoting sustainability. That is saving her gift of rainwater. There are different reasons to want to do this.
There are Economic reasons as well as Ecologic reasons that saving and using rainwater is beneficial. For lack of space and in keeping with Earth Day, I am going to focus on the Ecological aspect only.
Collecting rain in barrels helps slow runoff and encourages rain to soak into the soil more efficiently, to recharge groundwater supplies and protect sensitive ecosystems.
Overloaded municipal sewer systems can cause untreated sewage to flow to lakes and rivers, thus causing pollution to our valued lakes and rivers.
By saving rainwater from wetter seasons, you’ll have plenty to use without taxing the municipal supply, or your well during the summer, helping out during times of not-so-rainy days.
Eco-facts to consider:
Gardens, trees, bedding and house plants are more likely to flourish when they always receive Mother Nature’s pH-balanced rainwater. What could be more simple and natural?
Have you ever noticed how green a good rain turns lawns and gardens? This is not just “a good cleaning up” by the rainwater. The soil is replenished by this natural pH water, nitrogen is delivered to the soil and plants thrive.
Rainwater is a constant renewable resource to Earth because of its continuous production cycle and is very pure due to the water cycle it goes through. Although there are some similarities between rainwater and tap water, there are also many differences.
Tap water contains contaminants due to the many substances collected in the environment. These contaminants, such as pesticides, prescription drugs, sewage, bacteria, metals, oil, etc. then need to be filtered out, so it can be used for drinking and cooking.
So WHY is rainwater better than tap water for our plants and lawns? Well, there are a few reasons…
► Simply said, it is what Mother Nature intended. Rainwater is purer, more easily absorbed because it is naturally soft and free of minerals. This allows for healthier growth.
► Salt exists in the soil naturally. In areas where the water is naturally full of minerals such as calcium and magnesium, sodium (salt) is used in municipal water and in water softeners to soften water to reduce deposit buildup. Too much salt is bad for plants, and as it builds up it starves the roots of water. Rainwater dilutes the salts in the soil and pushes them further down, away from the plant’s root system.
► Municipal water services add a lot of chemicals to the water supply to keep it clean as it flows through pipes. Fluoride and chlorine are very common additives. Fluoride is put into the water in an effort to keep people’s teeth healthy. Chlorine is used to kill off harmful bacteria in the water supply. Both of these chemicals affect the pH of the soil, often making it too acidic for maintaining healthy plants. Rainwater contains neither of these chemicals, having been filtered by evaporation, and is pure.
I hope this has helped you understand the benefits and importanceof harvesting rainwater for your plants, gardens, trees and lawn.
Try rainwater for other uses, too. You’ll be surprised how much you’ll like it for washing your car, bathing your pet, or washing your own hair…you might find that you wont need to buy conditioner, as rainwater is naturally soft.
Many of us are finding ways to go back to a simpler way of life. This is one of those smarter, simpler ways that make sense, save money and save on the environment. Give it a try…oh, and if you do, please remember to choose a rain barrel that is good for the environment and won’t end up in a landfill. Mother Earth will thank you!
Green Planet Rain Barrels, LLC