Using the Water You’ve Collected in Rain Barrels

If you have rain barrels, what is the best way to use the water captured in them?  With the monsoons upon us (yay!), it’s time to deal with water captured in rain barrels.

There are two major uses for Canale Catchers®: diverting water away from a problem area where water from canales collects, such as a wall, deck, portal or sidewalk; or capturing the water in your rain barrel for later use.

How do you use the rain barrel water most effectively? In order to determine this, let’s look at the amount of water can you expect to collect. I’ll use round numbers to make it easier for you to calculate the amounts for your house.

For a 1,000 square foot roof, with 5 canales: A 1” rainfall will produce 83 cubic feet of water, which is 623 gallons, divided by 5 canale drains.  This is about 125 gallons per canale. This amount of rain will cause the rain barrels to overflow.

The popular rain barrel size is about 60 gallons, and with a spigot about 9” off the ground, you probably have about 50 gallons of useable water available without too much trouble. So, anything more than 0.4” of rain, and it’s overflowing. And that assumes each canale drains equally, which is never the case. I have found that anything more than ¼” of rain will fill my four “top producing” rain barrels , and the rest of my barrels will be about half full. So, you can see that with the monsoons you should stay on top of keeping your rain barrels available to catch the water.

So what can you do with the rain barrel water?  Watering house plants is one idea, but that’s a lot of houseplants! Draining the water through a hose is another idea, but that may cause erosion if you drain it to bare dirt. A third idea is using a lawn sprinkler head to slow down the water, or a drip line manifold with drip hose to distribute water to individual plants. With daily rains, you can see you’ll need a plan, and probably a few more hoses to utilize the water effectively, and continue to capture more. It’s not a ton of work, but you should be prepared to stay ahead of it.

With a little bit of planning, you can keep your yard watered using the runoff from the monsoons.