Also considering donating rain barrels to a local school, church, or non-profit. Rain barrels have already been donated to Holy Ghost Lutheran youth auction, Holy Ghost Lutheran Church community garden and St. Mary’s Catholic School, both located in Fredericksburg, Texas.
Find out more about rainwater collection and rain barrels:
- You really do get plenty of rain
- Ways you can use rainwater
- How rain barrels can help you save money
- Rain barrel accessories
- Larger systems
- Installing your rain barrels
You really do get plenty of rain
It’s amazing how much water can be saved in the Hill Country each year, even during times of extended drought. Eighty-four days is the average number of days each year Central Texas receives over 0.1 inches of rain. Fredericksburg’s magic number is 72 days. Although that amount of rain and number of days seem relatively small, the amount of water you could collect may surprise you.
On average, a 900 ft2 roof (with gutters sized for catching maximum rainfall) yields over 560 gallons of water for every inch of rainfall, or 56 gallons for every 0.1 inches. To determine how much water you can save, simply multiply the capacity of your rain barrel (55 gallons) by the average number of times each year, you receive enough rain to fill your barrel (72 days for Fredericksburg residents, 84 for Austin residents).
Fredericksburg: 55 gallons x 72 days = 3,960 gallons saved
Austin: 55 x 84 = 4,620 gallons saved
Furthermore, guttering requirements to fill one barrel would be minimal: twelve feet of guttering is sufficient to collect 67 gallons in an 1/4″ rainfall. Some collectors have taken a totally different approach and, instead of utilize guttering they are simply capturing water dripping from their outdoor air conditioning runoff.
Here’s an exciting possibility: According to Save our Texas, if every household in the state of Texas began collecting rainwater for their outdoor watering needs, 10 billion gallons of water would be released to recharge our aquifers, lakes, and rivers!
While rainwater will not be coming out of your sink faucet, it will be just as easy to use. There will be no dipping buckets or ladles into your barrel. All of our units have 2″ brass fittings and spigots that can be used as a faucet or easily connected to a hose (usually a soaker hose), making all of the following chores, just as easy as using city or well water:
- Water (and improve the health of your) landscaping, garden, raised planter beds, and trees
- Water your plants located indoors or in your greenhouse
- Rinse out your compost and other buckets
- Rinse the dirt from vegetables you grow in your garden
- Wash your automobile or boat
- Wash your bicycle
- Wash your hands
- Wash your hair with that soft Hill Country rainwater
- Bathe your dog
- Clean household windows
- Wash out your camping and beach gear
- Provide water for your livestock or wildlife (esp. birds and deer)
- Fight fires (hope this is never needed!)
- Use in household for toilet flushing, clothes washing, drinking and cooking (subject to local ordinances and filtration requirements)
- Donate a rain barrel to your church or school for them to start watering their landscaping or food garden
- Share with your business or residential neighbors!
“We love our rain barrels! We went with the double set up and were amazed at how quickly they filled up – one good thunderstorm. We have two raised bed gardens as well as various other plants and we’ve done all our Spring watering solely using rain water. My original concern was that there wouldn’t be enough water pressure to run the drip irrigation but it has worked just fine…”
Jeff & Heather Foeh
How rain barrels can help you save money
There is no question that collecting and reusing rainwater helps the environment, but did you know it could help you, especially where your wallet is concerned? Rain barrels allow you to:
- Reduce dependence upon city or well water by as much as 40% (sometimes even more), therefore reducing your water bill
- Possibly receive rebates for the purchase of multi-unit systems (Austin and San Marcos residents)
- Possibly avoid water restrictions with a ready back-up water source in times of drought or between rain showers
- Increase the health of your soil by watering the yard and plants with rainwater, devoid of minerals, chlorine, fluoride, and other chemical contaminants
- No sales tax on rainwater collection systems
Rain barrel accessories to consider
Some available options on the market :
- Rain barrel soaker hose kit. See testimony below.
- Rain chains
- Curved pavers
- Downspout rainwater diverters (allowing you to collect rainwater from your downspout with any cutting)
- Cedar stands
- Solar rain barrel pumps
“…I handed the [rain barrel] soaker hose kit to my 8th graders and they assembled it completely on their own. When I used it for the first time I simply opened the spigot and walked away. I came back a few hours later and the flower bed was completely saturated with fresh rain water. This system is a must for drought survival.”
Fredericksburg Middle School
Pavers are an alternative to using the wooden stand. They can also be used in combination with the stand to increase the height and thereby increase the water pressure from the rain barrels.
Both Austin and Fredericksburg average around 32″ rainfall annually. An average 1,500 ft2 home yields as much as 27,000 gallons of green water per year. With this mind, you may want more capacity than a few rain barrels. Very large rainwater collections systems (10,000 gallons are more) are now available for home or commercial use.
Downspout supplies needed:
- Two 90 ° elbows or one flexible elbow
- Work gloves
- Screwdriver or hammer
- Select a location to place your rain barrel. Generally, choose a site under a gutter downspout that has maximum rainwater flow. Secure that downspout to your house or building with a bracket. If no downspouts are available, either choose a location under a roof with maximum runoff or install guttering before proceeding with installation.
- Level the ground where your rain barrel(s) will be placed. Since your rain barrel stands are already provided, there is no need to elevate your rain barrel further.
- Using a fine-toothed hacksaw blade cut downspout approximately 4"³ above the top of the rain barrel (for multi-unit systems, it is the rain barrel that has the trap). Wear work gloves to protect yourself against sharp metal edges.
- Attach the downspout extender: either two 90 ° elbows or one flexible elbow
- Place rain barrel under downspout elbow and start collecting that rainwater (for multi-unit systems, select the rain barrel that contains the rain trap and netting).
- Attach a soaker hose to the spigot to water your garden or landscape plans, shrubs and trees.
- Attach an overflow hose (if the rain barrel has an overflow valve).