Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the opening date for the Rain Barrel/Plant/Mulch Rebate Program has been postponed until further notice. Please contact Environmental Initiatives at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
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Inexpensive and easy to install, rain barrels are a great way to conserve Red Deer’s drinking water supply. Rain barrels collect and store rain water that runs off of your roof. This water can be used in your yard, reducing the need to use treated water from the tap.
The average rain barrel holds approximately 200 litres of water and, depending on precipitation, will fill about three times in a typical summer, which saves about 600 litres of water! Savings will vary based on use of water in the rain barrel and the amount of precipitation.
- Reduces the need to use treated water for landscaping, helping to conserve water and potentially saving money on your utility bills
- Helps to reduce the volume of runoff and pollution into the Red Deer River
- Helps avoid the risk of household flooding by diverting water away from your home
- Provides a back-up source of water during low rainfall periods
- Decreases energy consumption normally required by The City to treat and pump water, reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and improving air quality
Harvesting rain water offers a sustainable way to lessen our potable water consumption, aligning with The City’s Environmental Master Plan.
Rain barrels can be purchased at most local home or garden stores.
With a diverse variety of rain barrels to choose from, ranging in prices, material and features, below is a guide of what to look for when purchasing a rain barrel:
- Mosquito-proof screen and cover. Mosquitoes thrive in water so ensure they stay out of your rain barrel by using a screen top and cover.
- Made of recycled or refurbished material.
- Drain or spigot at the top of the barrel for overflow.
- Drain or spigot at the bottom of the barrel for draining.
- UV protection to prevent deterioration (if the barrel is made of plastic material).
- B.P.A.-free material. Bisphenol-A is an environmental contaminant and is present in some plastics.
- Position the rain barrel on sturdy, level ground in front of a downspout close to the area you want to water.
- To increase the water pressure, you may use a rain barrel stand. A stand elevates the rain barrel, making it easier to access the spigot.
- Connect your downspouts directly to the rain barrel, or install a downspout diverter.
- If desired, attach a hose to your rain barrel to hand water plants or to direct water to trees and shrubs.
- You may also connect several rain barrels together using pieces of garden hose.
- Ensure the overflow water is directed away from your home to reduce pooling water that could impact your home's foundation.
- Rainwater is non-potable and should not be used for drinking, washing fruits or vegetables, or cooking.
- Rainwater can be used for watering your shrubs, landscaping, flowerbeds and ornamental gardens.
- Using collected rainwater on vegetable gardens or edible food crops should be done at your discretion. The runoff collected from roof tops may contain contaminants and currently there are no national or provincial guidelines in place for rain barrel water treatment.
- Keep it covered to keep children, animals and insects out
- Empty it once a week to keep algae out and avoid placing it in direct sunlight. Emptying the rain barrel once a week also helps prevent mosquitoes from establishing
- Algae can be removed by emptying the water and washing the barrel with a 5 per cent bleach solution
- Before storing it for the winter, empty the barrel, drain the spouts and detach the hoses
Rain barrels can be damaged by water freezing and expanding resulting in split hoses, damaged spigots or even a burst barrel.
Prepare your rain barrel for winter:
- Drain it. Open spigots or hoses and let all the water drain out. You can also turn the barrel over to drain any remaining water
- Clean it. Debris left in the barrel may cause mold or fungus growth
- Store it. Storing it inside a garage or shed is recommended. If you do store your rain barrel outside – turn it upside down to prevent any water from accumulating.
- Remove all hoses and leave all spigots open. Damaged spigots or split hoses will leak.
*Remember to reattach a downspout to direct water away from your home's foundation