Reusing rainwater for outdoor watering and landscaping

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Rainwater harvesting, the concept is simple: Don’t let the water sent by Mother Nature go to waste. Every rain drop collected in a barrel or cistern offers another way to help beat the drought.

Audrey Wilmot doesn’t mind the rain, even when it’s raining buckets because in the backyard of her home in El Cajon, she’s collecting the rainwater.

As cities and water districts around the state ask people to conserve, Wilmot said she’ll be able to put this water to good use.

Dr. Michael Dettinger is with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. He said reusing rainwater brings obvious benefits.

“Frankly, you end up paying for less water on your utility bill, so why no do it?” he said.

By capturing the rainwater that falls on the roof, homeowners can reduce the amount of storm water that runs into rivers and the ocean.

That can help to keep more contaminants and toxic chemicals out of the waterways.

Even with just a little rain, the benefits can be surprising.

With one-inch of rain falling on one-square foot of a roof, a little more than half a gallon of water will be collected, six-tenths of a gallon to be precise.

So in a sense, with a ten-by-ten foot shed and one inch of rain, 60 gallons of water could be collected.

That’s enough to fill up an entire rain barrel, being sold at Dixieline Lumber in Kearny Mesa.

Andy Sotello, a supervisor at Dixieline Lumber said the rain barrels are simple to install.

“You need a drill. That’s basically all you need and then you collect about 60 gallons of water and you can use that water for whatever you like,” he said.

Both the City of San Diego and the County Water Authority will pay consumers a rebate if they invest in a rain barrel.

The County Water Authority offers rebates starting at $75 dollars a barrel.

Council member Todd Gloria said the City of San Diego will pay consumers a dollar for every gallon of rain barrel storage to a maximum of $400.

A typical household will use more that 50 percent of its water on landscaping and lawns, so using recycled water there can really help.

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