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Rainwater collection ready

Rainwater collection ready

Alabama — Rainwater collection is an important skill to master. By learning how to collect rainwater and use that water efficiently, gardeners and homeowners can rely on more than just a water hose for quick access to clean water. Another plus – rainwater is completely free!

Alabama Cooperative Extension Systems agent Sallie Lee has tips for making the most of your rainwater.

“Rainwater can be collected every time it rains if there is room in the barrel or container,” said Lee. “Nothing beats setting up a barrel and implementing rainwater collection for yourself.”

Rainwater collection is especially helpful during times of drought, like the one Alabama residents are currently experiencing.

“We are currently in a stage two drought in this area, so rainwater collection importance varies,” said Lee.

For those who are not familiar with rainwater collection protocols, here is a list of how-to tips:

Find a container that will hold water easily.

“Extension recommends only “food grade” containers for rainwater collection,” said Lee. “People may use trashcans, that have never been used for trash, whiskey barrels, etc.”

Because rainwater collection is a straightforward process, getting into a habit of doing it is easy. By buying the tools necessary to collect rainwater now, you can ensure that collecting it in the future will be a breeze.

Know how to use the water you collect.

Rainwater is the perfect source of replenishment for your plants. Rainwater is better for plants than water from a garden hose. According to Wateruseitwisely.com, rainwater is salt-free and helps your garden have a more natural look.

Rainwater is also a great way to collect and sustain natural water sources. Especially in larger urban areas, most rainwater goes to waste by falling on concrete. By collecting it and reusing it, you can keep natural water going where it was meant to in the first place.

Don’t drink the rainwater.

According to Lee, drinking rainwater is not a good option. “Rainwater is not considered ‘potable’,” said Lee. “Therefore we do not recommend drinking it.”

Rainwater is fine for plants because it is water they would already be receiving. The only cleaning process necessary for collected rainwater is to remove excess leaves or animal excrement that might have fallen into a container.

Keep rainwater collection barrels above ground.

Lee stated that by putting your rainwater collection barrels at least eight inches above ground, you can avoid the need for a pump to help you empty and use your rainwater later.

Rainwater collection is an easy way to make the most of free resources from nature. Grab a barrel and start your own rainwater collection today.

For more information, visit these links from Extension:

About Erin Slay


  1. Any news on State sponsored rainwater harvesting classes for 2017?

    • County Extension offices across Alabama usually offer these type classes on a fairly regular basis. I would suggest reaching out to your county and neighboring offices to see what they may have planned. Use the Offices tab on our site, http://www.aces.edu, to find contact info.