I hooked a rain barrel up to the side of my house last year and it really was quite easy to do. Using a hack saw, I cut off the bottom section of my downspout, placed my terra cotta colored rain barrel on cinder blocks, hooked up a hose to a spigot on the bottom of the barrel and voila, free water to use for watering my garden!I soon found that I felt a connection with the rain that emptied into the barrel after each storm and hated to waste a single drop. I had done the collecting of this water and I began to cherish it and see the value in it. Unlike the outdoor tap water which seemed overly plentiful as it gushed out of the tap, the water coming out of the barrel flowed slower, taking it's time and feeling more prized. Becoming attached to this rainwater made me aware of the disconnect I felt towards my city water and I began to see that I should do a better job of appreciating and conserving that water as well.
A year after I installed my rain barrel, a local committee that I belong to began to sell rain barrels at festivals in our community so that others could take advantage of collecting the water that fell on their yards. Pictured above is my son Jimmy and his girlfriend Megan stenciling a demonstration rain barrel in one of our booths this summer.
Our committee has also encouraged local business owners in our downtown to purchase and decorate rain barrels which they then place in front of their business in order to create more awareness about them. As a result of our efforts, people in our town will be holding onto the rain that falls on their property, rather than letting it rush downstream, which will help to recharge our local aquifers and also to reduce the demand on outdoor watering. Drop by drop, I am constantly amazed at all of the simple little things that one can do to bring about real change.