The Dallas Zoo Green Team is back just in time to help you go green for spring! This month, we are taking you on a learning adventure about rainwater collection. Here are some questions and answers to help you get started with your own rain barrel at home:
- What is rainwater collection?
Rainwater collection is simple. It’s the practice of harvesting and storing rainwater for later use. The practice dates back thousands of years in Thailand, China, Israel, and many other parts of the world.
- What can rainwater be used for?
Rainwater that you collect can be used for a wide variety of things including: landscape watering, gardening, in-home use, and wildlife and livestock watering just to name a few.
- What makes this a “green” practice?
Using rainwater can reduce the use and demand of municipal water, alleviating cities’ aquifers. It can also reduce the flow to storm drains, lessening their impact on erosion and keeping pollutants out of natural bodies of water.
- How much rainwater will I actually collect?
It varies by roof size and shape, but for every inch of rain falling on a 2000 sq. ft. roof, about 1000 gallons of rainwater can be collected. In Dallas, we have about 37 inches of rain a year, which could yield 37,000 gallons of water!
- Why should I collect rainwater?
If we haven’t convinced you yet, here are some awesome reasons to start your own rainwater collection:
- Save money – using less municipal water will lower your monthly water bill, and in Texas, rainwater harvesting equipment is exempt from sales tax (Texas Tax Code §151.355). For more info, visit the Texas Water Development Board.
- Grow healthy plants – rainwater is free of chlorine or other chemicals, meaning your plants and lawns will love it.
- Help relieve drought – if you start collecting this spring, you’ll have water to use during summer droughts when there are restrictions on municipal water usage.
Spring showers are on their way, and we hope we’ve sparked your interest in rainwater collection just in time! Need a little help getting started? The City of Plano is currently selling a particular model of rain barrel and compost bin at a discount. For more information about composting, take a look at our previous blog. Before you start, check with your city office and take advantage of any discounts or incentives offered for rainwater collection.
Interested in assisting in a Zoo conservation project? Learn more about how you can be a part of Dallas Zoo’s Green Team.