Sus­tain­abil­ity Tips

Catron Courier - - News -

In mon­soon sea­son we never worry about a lack of wa­ter—but we do have dry sea­sons. And col­lect­ing rain while we’re get­ting it is a great way to ex­tend your wa­ter.

The av­er­age roof col­lects 600 gal­lons of wa­ter for ev­ery inch of rain­fall. That’s a lot of wa­ter you could use for your gar­den. There are some easy ways—and low cost, too—to put in a rain wa­ter col­lec­tion sys­tem.

The eas­i­est way is sim­ply to plant a con­tainer gar­den un­der your roof line. The run off from the roof will wa­ter your plants for you, both with snow melt in spring and rain mon­soon sea­son.

If you want to store rain wa­ter for dry sea­sons, start off by get­ting a wa­ter stor­age bar­rel online. It’s cheaper to get used bar­rels—and keeps them out of land­fills. Check Craigslist, the J&P pawn shop in So­corro, or ask hard­ware stores. Just be sure to clean the bar­rel, and buy a bar­rel that did not con­tain oil, pes­ti­cides, or toxic sub­stances that would pol­lute your wa­ter.

Mount your bar­rel on a few con­crete blocks or even on old wood. If it’s up higher, you can use grav­ity feed for a wa­ter­ing hose.

With your bar­rel in place, run a rain gut­ter along the edge of the roof and into the top of the bar­rel. Keep the bar­rel cov­ered to keep out in­sects and mice.

Drill a hole a few inches up from the bot­tom and at­tach a spigot to the out­side and a cou­pling to the in­side. Te­flon tape and wash­ers will make a tight seal. You can get these sup­plies from South­west Sup­ply, or any other lo­cal hard­ware store. You’ll want to buy:

A hose and a stan­dard one -inch hose spigot with three­quar­ter inch pipe threads

A one and thee-quar­ter inch by three-quar­ter inch cou­pling

a three-quar­ter inch by three-quar­ter inch bush­ing

A one and three-quar­ter­inch pipe thread with a oneinch hose adapter

A one and three-quar­ter­inch lock nut four wash­ers A roll of Te­flon thread tape You can in­stall a sec­ond, third or more bar­rels. To con­nect bar­rels, drill a hole just like you did for the spigot, but put the over­flow a cou­ple of inches be­low the top of the bar­rel.

Use a one and thee-quar­ter inch by three-quar­ter inch cou­pling. Put one of these on each bar­rel and con­nect them with a length of hose or Pex. Use hoses that can ex­pand with­out break­ing.

Win­ter­ize your sys­tem with in­su­la­tion around the bar­rels and pipes, or by drain­ing the sys­tem in late fall be­fore the first snow. Also con­sider place­ment. Col­lec­tion sys­tems on the north side are more likely to freeze and stay frozen than on a south-fac­ing side of the build­ing.

Even if you only col­lect a lit­tle rain wa­ter, it’ll get you a head start in spring with your gar­den.

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