During summer months, lawn and garden watering makes up about 40% of total household water use. A rain barrel is the easiest way to collect and store gallons of rainwater that you can later use to irrigate.
A standard, commercial rain barrel kit includes a 55-gallon drum, a vinyl hose, PVC couplings, and a screen grate to keep out debris and insects. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a rain barrel can save the average homeowner about 1,300 gallons of water during those peak months.
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The Environmental Protection Agency calculates that, in the U.S., homes consume about 100 gallons of water per day per person, with approximately 70% being used indoors.
A high quality water supply is essential to a high standard of living. Yet most of us take our ready access to water for granted, despite the fact that delivering and treating water is expensive.
For example, according to Water Sense, letting your hot water faucet run for five minutes uses about as much energy as running a 60-watt light bulb for 14 hours. What’s more, operating an electric water heater accounts for about one-quarter of an average electric bill.
Additionally, when people use less water, there’s more of it available for lakes, rivers and streams. Using water more efficiently helps maintain supplies at safe levels, protecting human health and the natural habitats.
So how much benefit would we derive by taking steps to conserve? The American Water Works Association asserts that if every U.S. households installed water-saving features, water use would decrease by 30 percent, saving an estimated 5.4 billion gallons and $11.3 million per day, or more than $4 billion per year.
With climate change concerns, pervasive droughts, and high energy prices, the greater the numbers of people who take the necessary steps to conserve water, the better. And the sooner we all support this effort, the greater will be the benefits that we all enjoy.