The Environmental Protection Agency states that lawn and garden watering are nearly 40 percent of total household water use during the summer. Rain barrels provide a consistent supply of clean, fresh water for outdoor use, free of charge.
Saving water not only helps protect the environment, it saves money and energy by decreasing demand for treated tap water. And diverting water from storm drains also decreases the effects of runoff to streams, preventing pollution and protecting water.
Water collected in a rain barrel would normally pour off your roof directly or flow through roof gutter downspouts and become stormwater runoff. Depending on your yard, this runoff can travel onto paved surfaces and eventually into a storm drain, which drains straight to freshwater bodies like creeks and streams.
Rain barrels are relatively simple and inexpensive to construct and sit conveniently under residential gutter downspouts. A rain barrel is composed of a 55-gallon drum, a vinyl hose, a spigot, PVC couplings and a screen to keep debris and insects out.
Where to buy
Hardware stores and garden centers are likely bets to find parts or whole kits for rain barrels. Online sources carry rain barrels as well.
Lenexa participates in Johnson County’s Stormwater Management Cost Share Program and your rain barrel expense may be eligible for partial reimbursement from that program. The 2016 Cost Share Application with program details is now available.