Lawn and garden watering can make up nearly 40% of total household water use during the summer. This means your water bill may almost double during summer months. A single rain barrel will save most homeowners about 1300 gallons of water during the peak summer months.
Saving water not only saves you money and energy, but it helps our environment. Diverting water from downspouts keeps that water from becoming runoff carrying pollutants to our rivers and streams.
Rain Barrels reduce runoff by storing water for future use such as watering the garden or washing windows. The rain water stored in the barrel contains no chlorine, lime or calcium - it is naturally 'soft' water.
Rain barrels are available at most garden centers and home improvement stores. Make sure the barrel you choose keeps mosquitoes out of the barrel and has an overflow mechanism large enough to handle a downspout running at full capacity.
Retzer Nature Center has Rain Reserve diverter kits available to divert water from the downspout to a barrel. A diverter with a single barrel connection sells for $40 and a diverter with connectors for two barrels sells for $60.
Residents of the City of Waukesha may be eligible for a rebate on the purchase of a rain barrel.