There are so many reasons to harvest rainwater. The obvious one is that water is more precious than ever, especially in California during drought, and rain is a freebie! The trick is to learn how to harness and store rain so you can use it as needed. Rainwater catchment systems are the answer! They can be simple or complex and generally involve a fairly low-tech system of pipes that diverts water from roof gutters to storage containers, ranging from large plastic garbage cans to recycled food storage barrels to underground cisterns.
If you’d like to install one like a pro, sign up now for the hands-on “Rainwater Collection Workshop,” co-hosted by Sustainable Contra Costa and Contra Costa Water District. Learn how to construct a home rain barrel system in time for the rainy season ahead! This workshop costs $20 per person and takes place on Sunday, October 15, 10am to 12pm, at DVC’s Horticulture Department, Room H101, 321 Golf Club Rd., Pleasant Hill. You can register HERE.
Amazingly enough, if you have a one thousand square foot roof, you can harvest approximately 600 gallons of rainwater after one inch of rainfall. This is not only a strategic and environmental thing to do, but if tap water via your public utility is overly “soft” or “hard,” it may contains salts and minerals like calcium, magnesium or chlorine that can alter the pH level of your soil, which can affect plant growth. Generally, rainwater is much better for your plants, and rain catchment systems even contain filters that flush out contaminants from the roof’s first run-off. Drinking stored rainwater is a separate discussion, however, there are extra filters you can add to your catchment system for potability purposes. Use your stored rainwater for irrigating landscapes, getting seedlings started, cultivating mushrooms, and more!
To read more about DIY rain catchment systems, here are a couple of links: