Starting on May 1, Metro Vancouver will be putting stage 1 watering restrictions into effect. The regional government is doing this to conserve water in advance of our typical long dry spells that occur over the summer. It's wise proactive planning.
Using rain barrels to collect rain water is a wise way to conserve water. Simply collecting rain water for outdoor household uses saves you from wasting purified drinking water. Rain water can be used to do things such as washing cars, washing your house exterior and to water your lawn and gardens with.
Instead of relying on city treated (purified) drinking water, you might be able to save some money if your home is tied to a municipal water meter. If your water usage is metered by your city, then using a rain barrel might be an economical investment.
You can collect rain water using a single rain barrel or multiple ones that are inter-connected. For example, once one barrel fills up, you can use an overflow pipe to spill into and fill up a second barrel. Divert one or more of your gutter downpipes to more quickly fill up your barrel. The water can be collected for current or future use. The stored water is especially helpful during dry, hot summer periods or droughts.
Rain barrels are a smart and efficient way to use the precious commodity that water is. It would be great to see a greater integration of so called “grey water” systems into the construction or renovation of homes here in North America.
You can make a rain barrel yourself by getting some ideas online. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy. You can start by simply converting a plastic garbage bin into a rain collection container. Alternatively, you can choose from a selection of purpose built rain barrels available at stores.
In Surrey, where I live, the city offers rain barrels for sale at a reasonable price. Check out the city's website and type in rain barrels in their search field.
This basic idea of collecting rain water is a strategy to become more efficient in the operation of your home.