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Here are some pictures of other recent projects.

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For the average home, up to 40% of the water consumed goes to outdoor use such as caring for your landscape. Yet half of the water we use outside is wasted due to evaporation, misapplication or overwatering. Although water may seem abundant at times, no one knows if this will be another year of scarcity by midsummer. Don’t be caught unprepared. You can save water every time it rains with a simple solution...a rain barrel.

In addition, minimizing storm water runoff helps improve water quality overall by reducing sediments and contaminants that enter watersheds and storm drains. To collect the runoff from your roof, just install a rain barrel under a downspout. Harvesting rainwater in this manner is an easy way to collect and store a valuable resource for use on-demand, especially in times of drought.

So how much water do you need to collect? For every inch of rain that falls on a catchment area of 1000 square feet (the size of a typical roof), approximately 600 gallons of water can be harvested. In general, your plants need about an inch of rain per week (a half gallon of water per square foot of garden is a good rule to follow). So, if your garden is 100 square feet, you'll want to have about 50 gallons available on demand.

Barrel capacities range from under 50 to over 300 gallons. If you find that you'll be using a large amount of water, you can connect two or more rain barrels in series or install barrels under multiple downspouts. At my house, I subscribe to the idea of a rain barrel for every downspout. My rational is simple and one I use for many circumstances; it’s better to have and not need it, than to need and not have it.

Conserving water with rain barrels is a centuries-old technique used by many cultures. Today's rain barrels don't look like the one your grandmother used. You may be surprised to find that they come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors and finishes to complement your home. Rain barrels are a low-cost and effective way to conserve water.