Rain barrels are containers connected to existing downspouts to collect rainwater from rooftop and store it for later use. This reduces stormwater flows into local streams. In the Chesapeake Bay watershed, high stormwater volume contributes to Bay pollution, by sending large amounts of road grease, sediment and trash into waterways emptying into the Bay. Rainwater harvesting is one way property owners can help make our streams, and the Bay, healthier.
Rain barrels can be made of plastic or wood and can come in various colors or designs. Rain barrels can range in size from 30 to 100 gallons, and more than one barrel can be used to increase capacity.
The benefits of rainwater harvesting include:
- Reduced flooding in your yard or basement
- Lower monthly water bills while still watering your plants
- Protecting the Chesapeake Bay
Many local governments offer rain barrel classes, information and (in some cases) rebates. Here is a partial list of links:
- Arlington, Va., Rain Barrel Info
- DC GreenWorks Rain Barrel Rebate Program
- Fairfax, Va., Rain Barrel Workshops
- Gaithersburg Rain Barrel Program
- Loudoun County, Va., Rain Barrel Info
- Montgomery County, Md., Rainscapes Program
- Rockville Rainscapes Rewards Program
- Bowie, Md. Rain Barrel Program
EDGE Energy supports rainwater harvesting. It is an inexpensive practice that decreases pollution and provides benefits to the homeowner.