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What Are Rain Barrels and Why Should I Use One?

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A rain barrel is a container that collects and stores the water from roofs and downspouts for future uses such as watering lawns, gardens, and house plants; cleaning off gardening tools; and washing your car. Rain barrels help to lower your water bills, particularly in the summer months by collecting thousands of gallons of free water a year that you don’t have to buy!

Rain barrels are also important for our environment because they help reduce water pollution by decreasing the amount of stormwater runoff reaching our streams and rivers. Think about it. The average rainfall of one inch within a 24 hour  period can produce more than 700 gallons of water that run off a typical house! While it’s running from our homes and lawns, this stormwater picks up anything on the ground such as litter, excess fertilizer, pet waste, and motor oil and  transports it to storm drains that DO NOT treat the water before dumping it directly into our waterways. So, rain barrels play an important role in protecting our water resources by collecting the stormwater runoff from our homes before it  reaches our local streams and rivers.

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Original Publication Date:

Cooperative Extension Education in Agriculture and Home Economics, University of Delaware, Delaware State University and the United States Department of Agriculture cooperating. Distributed in furtherance of Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914. It is the policy of the Delaware Cooperative Extension System that no person shall be subjected to discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex, disability, age, or national origin.

Disclaimer: Reference to commercial products or trade names does not imply endorsement by University of Delaware Cooperative Extension or bias against those not mentioned.

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