What is Rain Water Harvesting?

Rain water harvesting is the act of collection and storage of rain water to be used in landscape irrigation, washing your car, watering your garden, purification for human consumption, and many other potable and non-potable indoor/outdoor uses.

Rain Barrels

A rain barrels is any type of container attached to a downspout or place where water funnels off of a rooftop. It is used to collect and store rainwater that can be used at a later time. Rain barrels help to save on your water bill, reduce stormwater runoff, control erosion problems, provide gardens with chemical free water and supply an alternate source of water for future use.

Top 4 Reasons to Collect Rainwater:
  1. Protect our rivers and streams from runoff pollution.

  2. Use rainwater to grow healthy and lush plants.

  3. Supplement your water supply.

  4. Rainwater is a free resource that's easy to harvest and use

Rain Water vs. Tap Water

Rain Water

  • More oxygen

  • Nitrogen - added to rainwater after a thunderstorm - occurs from lightning in the atmosphere. This helps plants grow greener and more lush.

  • Carbon Dioxide

  • Evaporation gets rid of chemicals

  • Slightly acidic pH 5.6 (helps absorb nutrients)

Tap Water

  • Fluoride - One way to tell if your plants are suffering from too much flouride is if the leaves look burnt, discolored or spotted.

  • Chlorine (disinfectant)

  • Sodium

  • Calcium and Magnesium

  • Slightly basic

High amounts of these minerals can be too much for some plants.

Rain Gardens

Rain gardens, or bioretention facilities, are one of the many ways to help reduce stormwater runoff. By creating a garden typically placed near a downspout, this area can be used to absorb excess water into the soil and help grow plants that need more water than others. It is usually created by making a depressed area in the landscape that helps water pool into one area rather than runoff into streets. Many native perennials, flowers, and shrubs can be placed in a rain garden to establish a mini-ecosystem that thrives in water logged environments and slopes.

Top 4 Reasons to Establish a Rain Garden:
  1. Provide an area for infiltration of water to be absorbed and filtered through sediments.

  2. Reduction of stormwater runoff.

  3. Creation of an attractive garden for your home or school that helps the environment.

  4. Planting native plants to help restore and revive our native ecosystems.

Materials you may need to create a rain garden include:
  1. Decorative rocks

  2. Boulders

  3. A depression dug into the ground near a downspout at your home.

  4. Native plants that thrive in high water capacities.

  5. Mulch - to help retain moisture during times of drought, moderate soil temperatures, serve as a weed barrier and provide cover.

  6. Compost and sand - for filtration purposes

  7. A hard working group of people who are ready to help you get the job done!

To learn more, contact our office! We have plenty of resources on rain barrels and water harvesting TECHNIQUES!

Information above based on Clemson Extension's Rain Garden Booklet 2022