What is a Rain Barrel?
A rain barrel is a system that collects and stores rainwater from your rooftop that would otherwise be lost to runoff and diverted to storm drains and streams. A rain barrel is relatively simple and inexpensive to construct and can sit conveniently under a residential gutter down spout, or any spot where rain runs off of the roof.
Why use a Rain Barrel?
Outdoor irrigation accounts for up to 50 percent of water use in Florida, and up to 50 percent of the water applied to lawns is lost to evaporation or runoff. Capturing rainwater for use in the landscape makes efficient use of a valuable resource, reducing water bills and reducing demand on water supply.
Water collected with a rain barrel can be used to water plants, wash your car, or to top a swimming pool. It provides homeowners with a supply of free "soft water" that contains no chlorine, lime or calcium, making it ideal for gardens, flower pots, and car and window washing. A rain barrel will save most homeowners about 1,300 gallons of water during the peak summer months. Saving water saves you money and energy (decreased demand for treated tap water) and protects our valuable natural resources. Rain barrels divert water from storm drains, decreasing the negative impact of pollutant-laden runoff to our creeks, rivers and bay. For more about reducing stormwater runoff see CBA’s Stormwater Restoration page.
Rain Barrel program at CBA
Since 2009, CBA has teamed with University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agriculture Science (IFAS) extension agents to organize rain barrel workshops for residents of Okaloosa and Walton Counties. The workshops are presented in a “make-and-take” format. IFAS extension agents conduct a short educational talk and then CBA staff and members of Okaloosa or Walton County Master Gardeners volunteer corps instruct participants in building their own rain barrels, which are constructed and taken home at the end of the workshop.
Workshop fees are $45.00, a low, low cost to the consumer made possible by a grant from Boeing Corporation Community Grants Program. If you interested in attending a workshop, check out our Events page for upcoming dates.
Rain Barrel Art
Rain barrel art is an excellent public outreach tool. CBA sponsors and promotes rain barrel art programs in local schools. Students learn about rain barrels and the importance of water conservation, while building and decorating their own rain barrels. If you are interested in a program for your school, call CBA at 200-4173.