Rain Barrels: How to save water and money this summer

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Rain Barrels: How to save water and money this summer
We’ve had no shortage of spring showers so far this season, good news for those with rain barrels looking to capitalize on that wet weather. On this edition of Out & About, Caley Bedore set out to learn about the barrel benefits, why they are an important tool for saving water and money. – May 12, 2021

Jessica Correa, founder of Random Acts of Green in Peterborough, Ont., said a rain barrel could save you upwards of 1,000 gallons, or 3,785 litres, of water during peak summer months.

“They help you reduce rainwater flooding and ponding and harvest rainwater that would otherwise be going down the local storm sewer,” Correa said. “These barrels can fill up in about 15 minutes when it’s heavy rain flow, depending on your roof.”

She said they also save more than just water. The average barrel can save you about $35 a month on your summer water bills, she said.

And rainwater can be better for your garden overall, she added.

“It doesn’t contain chlorine or calcium, that you might find in tap water,” Correa said.

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Dan Marinigh, CAO of Otonabee Region Conservation Authority, has been monitoring the watershed this season. He said that while we had a healthy dose of rain in April, water levels overall are slightly below normal.

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“We had a lot of warm, windy weather in March and that seemed to melt and evaporate the snow and with more minimal flows that went into the creeks, rivers and lakes of the region,” Marinigh said. “We are running anywhere from -5 to -10 per cent of normal right now.”

Depending on precipitation levels in May, he said we might have to think about ways to conserve water during the summer. He said things like not washing your driveway and only doing your dishes once a day are simple ways to limit water usage. He also said a rain barrel can be helpful.

“It helps you store the peak and use it when there is the low level so it really helps balance out that consumption over the course of a week or two weeks,” he said.

Correa said she has noticed more people becoming interested in investing in rain barrels, especially since the pandemic began in 2020.

“A lot more people are home, a lot more people are gardening, a lot more people are looking for ways to save money, and a rain barrel is a great way to do all three,” she said.

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Last year she said they sold about 200 rain barrels and are hoping to surpass that this year. You can order a barrel from the Random Acts of Green website.

Peterborough GreenUP is also selling the conservation tool and re-stocks every Friday. That organization is also part of a subsidy program with Selwyn Township, that could save you even more cash.

“We are just excited that people are looking into ways to save water and the planet,” Correa said.

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