Capture rain to save on water bill, help environment

Capture rain to save on water bill, help environment

October 3, 2013 3:52:57 PM PDT
Houston has been getting some much needed rain lately, but a time will come again when a lack of precipitation will have communities restricting water usage. But, you can prepare for the next drought.

For a few dollars, and some elbow grease, you can build your own rain barrel system. There are kits available to help put one together. And if you know where to shop, you can find the barrels for little to no cost at all!

Yes, the skies have opened up, and at times, it's been raining like cats and dogs. But what happens to all that rain going down storm drains along the coast?

"With it carries all kinds of pollutants and trash and grass clippings and you name it, which does not get treated before it goes into Clear Lake or Galveston Bay," said Charlene Bohanon with the Galveston Bay Foundation.

Bohanon says homeowners can capture some of that rain water into a homemade rain barrel system.

Doing the math, we found that one rain barrel collects on average one thousand gallons a year. If a whole block of homes had a total of 40 barrels, that's 42,000 gallons a year.

And for the big impact, say if a community of 900 homes, like Nassau Bay, and each had a barrel, that would come out to 945,000 gallons or rain water collected in one year. It's a big savings for everyone's water bill.

"And that's just based on one downspout that usually drains a quarter of your roof. So you can put multiple and increase the amount that you can collect. And that's based on average rainfall data for our region," Bohanon said.

Once the water is collected, it's not recommended for drinking. However, there are other benefits.

"You can also help use it for landscape irrigation, if you have water restrictions from the recent drought. Or it can also help reduce flooding on your property if you have gutters that are just pouring out water and causing some erosion by your downspout," Bohanon said.

Bohanon tells us the Galveston Bay Foundation is holding a workshop this Saturday in Nassau Bay, demonstrating how to build and connect a rain barrel to your gutters. Normally, purchasing the kit and barrel at some of the larger big box stores will run between $80 to $100. However...

"Through our program it costs $25. For the workshop, the kit, and the barrel itself," Bohanon said.

Bohanon says the biggest cost is the barrel itself. But a little bargaining will go a long way.

"There are lots of places nearby that you can, if you're just looking for one or two barrels, you can maybe get one donated. You can also buy repurposed barrels for about $40 at some of the local distributors," Bohanon said.

Below is a list of some of the distributors:

Distributors for Barrels:
BayTec Containers
Baycliff, TX

Edible Earth Resources
Houston, TX

Gef Eco
Houston, TX

Gulf Coast Renewable Resources
Galveston, TX

Rain Tube of Houston
Houston, TX

Sparkle Tap
League City, TX

Find Patricia on Facebook at ABC13PatriciaLopez or on Twitter at @patricialopez13

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