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How rain barrels save Earth’s water.

“What’s that thing at the corner of their house?” I asked Larry, as we rounded the gravel driveway and headed up past the barn. “That thing” I was looking at was bright red.

We had flown into Seattle, and come by way of two ferries across Puget Sound to the foot of the Olympic Mountains near Port Angeles, where my sister Twila and her husband Bruce live. They’re very mindful of the earth’s resources, so whenever I visit, I discover something new they are doing for the planet.

“It looks like a barrel,” Larry replied. Sure enough, it was a barrel. A rain barrel. And it wasn’t just one. There were eight of them. Yes—eight red rain barrels!

Let’s see. Multiply eight barrels times 50 gallons per barrel, and you get FOUR HUNDRED gallons of water! With that, Bruce and Twila water their huge garden, flowerbeds, and orchard of apple, pear, and peach trees. That’s 400 gallons they are not taking out of our streams, rivers, lakes, wells and aquifers.

These barrels come with faucets at the bottom, so people can just attach a hose, point it in the right direction, and water their gardens, flowers and yards, without taking precious water from rivers, streams, creeks or wells.

From Bruce, I learned that each one holds 50 gallons, costs $34 each at their nearest home improvement store, and the total set-up time for each barrel was less than 15 minutes. Of course, Bruce is the kind of guy who can do that in 15 minutes! There’s no telling how long it might have taken me, un-mechanical as I am. 

I’m asking Bruce to post additional information on how he made small modifications to the barrels to make them even more efficient.

Planet Earth’s water supply is dwindling…people are living without enough water in several continents; underground aquifers are dwindling everywhere, including the United States.

A college student of mine at the College of New Jersey gave an alarming report, stating that only 1% of 1% of the planet’s water is drinkable! Yet, we use this scarce and vital resource—drinkable water—for everything, from watering golf courses in the desert to allowing leaky faucets and toilets to run and run and run….

I’m trying several things to cut down on some of my own thoughtless habits of wasting water (another blog…another day). But a water barrel? Not yet! Hmmm. Why not? Gotta go now. I’m heading to the store to find a rain barrel!

Readers, please post your message to let me know what you’re doing to save Earth’s water…drop-by-precious-drop!


Feel free to email me your environmental tips and questions!

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