South Africa is going through one of the driest periods in history, meaning that every drop of water is precious. It’s essential that we all band together and save as much as we can.
One of the first things that suffers in these times is the garden. In order to help your lawn and flower beds, we suggest setting up a system for collecting rain water. This way, you can have a supply just for your garden that won’t add to your water bill or put a strain on the water supply in your area.
Create a rain barrel from a rubbish bin
The first step is to make a storage container in order to collect rain water. One of the easiest things to use is a large, durable, plastic rubbish bin – either recycle one you already have or buy a new one. Just remember, if you’re reusing something you already own, be sure that it hasn’t stored pesticides or other potentially harmful toxins in the past as these can be difficult to clean out properly and could poison your garden.
Route the water from your gutters into the barrel
The next step is to get the water that’s landing on your home’s roof and travelling along your gutters into your rain barrel. This is done quite easily by adding an elbow joint to a downspout. Do this so that the flow goes straight from your roof into the barrel.
When fitting this joint to the downspout, make sure that the bottom of it ends well below the top of your barrel. This will ensure that all of the water coming through it will be collected.
Store water in a dark container
If you aren’t going to be using the collected rain water within a few days, then a dark container is the best option for storage. This will stop sunlight from getting in and allowing algae to grow in the water.
You can always have storage containers that are separate from your collection barrel if you want to stockpile rain water. These should be dark in colour and have a lid that seals well. It’s also important to clean out these containers before you use them.
Methods to use the water you’ve collected
There are a couple of ways to use the rain water you’ve collected efficiently. The first method is to add a tap to your storage container. This must be done before you start using the container as it will take a bit of time, elbow grease and create a bit of dirt. You can get all of the supplies you need at your local handyman shop.
The other method is to syphon the water out with a hose. This is far simpler in terms of set up initially but may take two people to work – one to keep the hose in the barrel and one to direct the flow of water.
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