When looking at sources for water, it's often easy to overlook exactly how much water falls on our heads, especially in our region. Collecting rainwater is one of the easiest ways to turn a liability into an asset.
This article on rain catchments from Do It Green: Minnesota came across my desk(top) this morning (thanks Quinn!) and I've decided to highlight a few important things when considering creating a rain barrel.
Uses for catchment water:
- Watering your flower garden, landscape trees (NOT recommended for vegetable gardens), or houseplants
- Washing your car, driveway, sidewalk, or deck
- Flushing your toilet.
There is a debate on whether rooftop collected rainwater is potable or not, so use your best judgement. If you are using "composite" (or tar, fiberglass, asphalt) for your rooftop, then it's really not all that safe. If your shingles are made of these materials, there is too much petroleum residue for it to be considered "potable." Run a comparison to your tap if you want to be sure. There's a local water testing facility in Brainerd that will run the same tests that municipalities are required to request.
Things to consider when planning your rain catchment system:
- Permits or permission as needed (from your landlord, local government, or neighbors)
- Infrastructure like gutters and downspouts as necessary
- Size of water-containment vessel
- Space available for the vessel
- Quantity of "roof-real estate"
- Quantity of captured water that can be used.
If you need to find out how much water your roof will collect, you can use this handy rainwater collection calculator. This will help best when you're looking at the size of your water barrel. Crow Wing County has a great FAQ on rain barrel basics (especially for this area).
If you want more help on creating your rain barrel-catchment system, you can check out the Crow Wing Soil and Water Conservation District.