Most people are familiar with the idea of rain storage from the roof, into a cistern or container of some sort, then utilized for plant watering. There are many ways we can retain water on our residential properties that are both efficient and beautiful. With rain barrels, we capture water to be used for indoor and outdoor watering needs. If you want to install a water barrel, begin with installing or adjusting gutters from your roof line. Make sure your barrel is about 8 feet from your foundation to avoid over-saturation of the area. Make sure the soil around the barrel is loose; with compacted soil mosquito breeding can occur more easily. Add a connection from your gutter to your rain barrel. (see photo)
For example, for a 1,000 SF roof, 1” of rainfall can accumulate approximately 600 gallons of water. If your plan is to save the water for a longer period of time, it may be worth installing filtration to avoid contamination and mosquitoes. Regional rainfall varies dramatically with how much water can be collected on property. Extreme Northern California can average upwards of 50″ of rainfall, while Southern California manages less than 14″ in a normal year. Arizona desert at the other extreme would drop to near 4″ in a year.
A deviation of the normal collection system is this unique “container” that doubles as a fountain. At my home, this fountain at the entry, takes rain water from the roof, filters it through the landscape, and delivers it to a holding basin under the walkway. It not only is a focal point to our entry but also provides great water management on a smaller scale. This type of solution requires more time and construction, however, if the goal is to retain water, have a landscape amenity, it may be worth the time and effort to create this long term solution. We also have a dry-creek that doubles as extra holding capacity for rain and irrigation water before it can hit the gutter. This feature prevents runoff and promotes deep watering for the trees within the landscape.
By adding these types of ground water recharge systems in an aesthetic way, you can reduce your water bill and give yourself an amenity you can be proud of !! There are many ways to retain water on your lot, benefitting you in the long run while saving the environment little steps at a time.