Did you know that a quarter inch of rain falling on an average home yields about 200 gallons of water?

Water is a precious resource and we all can help conserve it, starting at home! One simple way to do so is with rain barrels.

Rain barrels are large containers used to collect rain water that would otherwise be lost as runoff from your roof, allowing you to store water for when you need it most. Using rain barrels, we can help:

  • Reduce peak stormwater runoff rates that contribute to flooding, erosion and stress on sewer systems
  • Reduce pollution by collecting rain water that would otherwise travel into rivers, streams and eventually the Chesapeake Bay after picking up debris and chemicals from buildings, streets and lawns.
  • Reduce household costs by providing a source of water for outdoor tasks like watering lawns and gardens. Maryland has an average of 41 inches of rain per year. Which means one barrel in one year can collect 28,700 gallons of water!
  • Reduce our impact on wildlife. According to the National Wildlife Federation “Humans extract [water] from the ground and as a result, the water table may drop, damaging habitats miles away. We divert water from rivers and lakes which reduces flow rate, possibly impacting fish, herons, otters, mussels, and thousands of other kinds of wildlife.” Rain barrels help lessen the demand from ground water.

Rain barrels can be purchased (range $80-200) or made at home and are easy to install. Businesses in Baltimore can also join in the efforts by registering with Barrels by the Bay (www.barrelsbythebay.org) to install a rain barrel on their property that has been decorated by local schools and other organizations, including the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore

Additional Resources:

Barrels By The Bay – Rain Barrels

The Conservation Foundation – Rain barrel installation

Environmental Protection Agency – What is a rain barrel

Environmental Protection Agency – Stormwater runoff

Chesapeake Ecology Center – Rain gardens