Water conservation begins with a single raindrop, an overlooked but powerful tool for change.
Here are a few reasons to harvest the rain.
It preserves our local watersheds
Being smart and efficient about our water usage—such as harvesting the rain—can go a long way in protecting our local watersheds. Watersheds are land areas in which all precipitation pools and then flows to the same place. It is the movement of water from raindrop to large bodies of water. More importantly, watersheds are an integral part of local ecology—transporting water, providing habitats and passage for animals and plants, and acting as an indicator for the overall health of the environment surrounding it. As demand for water increases, more of these watersheds are converted into reservoirs or dams that interfere with the delicate ecological balance these life-sustaining systems provide. Since the increasing demand for water is inevitable, rain harvesting can reduce the reliance we have on damaging dams, potentially prevent the building of future dams and bring us back to the source of it all—the rain.
It collects and conserves
Just how much water will you save by harvesting the rain? You can collect up to 1,860 gallons of water off of a 3,000 square foot roof (the average roof size of an Orange County house) from a single inch of rainfall (Source)! The average American home consumes 400 gallons of water per day—that one inch could last five of these days (Source). To put it into even greater perspective, the average yearly rainfall of a Southern California city is roughly 15 inches, so you could save up to 27,900 gallons of precious water in a year (Source). That’s almost 28,000 gallons of water that can be utilized for watering gardens, washing dishes, irrigating your lawn and rinsing off wetsuits.
It reduces harmful run-off into the ocean
When rain isn’t collected, it travels through storm drains and becomes a carrier for harmful chemicals and waste, which all eventually deposits into the ocean. As a result, our largest resource becomes polluted and uninhabitable. A rain barrel can easily lessen this massive impact.
It keeps money in your wallet
Rain is a precious resource. It’s also free and cost saving! For example, an average water bill for a home in San Diego, one of the more water-starved regions in Southern California, costs about $110 (Source). By harvesting rainwater you can cut down on the water bill by 30 percent every month (based on a 400 gallons water per day average).
It can be used for a myriad of purposes
Use your harvested rain to water the garden, clean the dishes, rinse the mud off your shoes, wash the dog, fill the toilet tank, etc. There’s a number of ways to utilize the rain and always a reason to rejoice in a rainy day!