Since starting at Project WET in 2016, I have unsurprisingly become much more conscious about water—from making changes to lower my daily water consumption to having a much more dedicated handwashing routine, thanks to a large focus of my work being on Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH). I am also an avid gardener, and when I decided to build some raised beds in our yard, my water-conscious mind immediately went to harvesting rainwater. Lucky for me, my partner is a mechanical engineer by trade and a hobby woodworker.
When I went to him with the idea of installing a rain barrel near the garden, his response was “Great idea! But let’s do four barrels to maximize water storage, run the pipe underground to keep the barrels out of the way, and hook it up to a drip irrigation system!” After sketching out our plans, we found two barrels for sale at a local oil and vinegar company, got two more barrels from a friend, and gathered the rest of the supplies we needed from the hardware store. We can now catch rainwater from both sides of an 1,100 square foot roof, which quickly fills our 200-gallon system during a big rain event. Our garden is happier than ever and last summer we were able to water it exclusively with rainwater for most of the growing season!
We made a video of the project that shows our process and explains how the system works. Whether it is building 200 gallons of water storage like we did or simply putting a bucket at the bottom of your gutter, there are myriad creative ways to conserve water in daily life.