Kansas residents can 100 days with rain each year, for a total of about 24 inches. Lately, we’ve experienced some dry spells. It makes sense then to collect rainwater when Mother Nature delivers it.
Here are 5 reasons to capture and store rainwater.
#1. You always have water. Remember those dry spells when your lawn and garden are looking dried up because of the town’s watering ban? Well, your yard will still look lush, because you have a natural water supply to draw from.
#2. Rainwater is great for your plants and soil. Municipal water supplies tend to be harder than rainwater, which is also cleaner. Without the added treatments, your rainwater supply feeds your yard with purer, cleaner water.
#3. Capturing rainwater helps the ecosystem. Harvesting the rainwater intercepts the runoff from stormwater. As it seeps into the ground, the soil naturally filters the water, reducing the amount of “dirty water” that feeds into the local water supply.
#4. You save money. You don’t need an expensive system to harvest rainwater. A 30- to 55-gallon plastic barrel costs about $100. When you use the water for your irrigation, you’ll save the cost of water that you would otherwise pay for in order to do the same task.
#5. It’s easy. There’s nothing really complicated about collecting and storing rainwater. You don’t need a high-tech system. Simply place a food-grade barrel (safe for collecting potable water) or cistern where it can collect runoff. Your rain barrel should be opaque so that light doesn’t filter through, causing bacteria and algae to form in the rainwater. Make sure your rain barrel has a filter to prevent debris, and a spigot to access the water supply.
A few states have laws that regular rainwater harvesting, and Kansas is among them. If you use the water for domestic purposes only, you don’t need a special permit. You can use it for household purposes (e.g., washing dishes), water up to two acres of lawn and gardens, and provide water for your livestock. For more information on the regulation, visit the Kansas Department of Agriculture’s website.