Parts of northern Connecticut are experiencing a severe drought and the moderate drought conditions keep expanding across the state.
So if you haven’t started to do so already, now is the time to start thinking about conserving water. And an easy way to do that is through rain barrels.
"Rain barrels are a great way to use water wisely, to reduce your water use, and to do it in an environmentally friendly way," said Dan Doyle, Communications Manager for the Regional Water Authority.
The 50-gallon barrels collect rain that comes off the roof of a house. About 1 inch of rain coming down onto the roof of an average 1,700 square foot house will generate about 700 gallons of water.
Spillover barrels can also be connected through a simple tube. The clean, recycled water can then be used to do a number of household chores. In the summer, 40% of water use comes from outdoor activities like watering lawns, gardens, and washing your car.
"There's a little filter on the top so it's just water going in you're not going to get mosquitos or branches or other debris,” Doyle said. “And then you can hook a hose up to the bottom of the barrel and gravity creates pressure in the barrel which allows you to force water through the hose and generate a decent amount of pressure for use in your yard."
That is something Lori Romick, a volunteer at the Connecticut Audubon Societies Coastal Center can attest to.
"We want to save water. Conservation is very important. The rain barrels offer us a plus in several ways,” Romick said. "I shortened my water time by a minimum of 20 minutes each week if I use these."
Saving time is great, but saving money is another added bonus.
"We're always looking at ways to reduce our cost and ability to reduce our amount of water use has been enhanced through the rain barrels,” said Shari Greenblatt, Southwest Regional Director for the Connecticut Audubon Society. “So we have lowered our water bills to a degree from the rain barrels."
And if those benefits aren’t enough, by collecting water from your roof, you’re limiting the runoff that makes it’s way to our drains, keeping our water cleaner.
"Runoff picks up everything off of the surfaces," Romick said. "So if it's going from your driveway to the sidewalk to the road it's picking up any chemicals, gasoline, fecal material from animals and going out into our storm drains and into long island sound. This reduces that."