This year, Tank Depot urges everyone to make a resolution that relates to water. After all, we can’t live without it.
In the landscape, water can be conserved and protected through the use of many best management practices, from selecting native plants with drought tolerance to improving soils with organic matter, using mulch correctly, applying fertilizers and pesticides wisely, monitoring irrigation systems to be sure they are uniform and to avoid over-watering.
Another way to have an even greater impact on water is rainwater harvesting. Recycling has long been a green resolution. While recycling rain is not new, the trend of capturing and reusing rain has returned and is gaining popularity. Make rainwater harvesting around your home and landscape a New Year’s resolution.
Rainwater harvesting captures rainwater to infiltrate into soil or to temporarily store for later use. Rainwater may be immediately available to plants when diverted to a rain or bio-retention garden or collected in rain barrels, cisterns or other storage units for later use.
Interest in rainwater harvesting is increasing for water conservation and stormwater reduction, particularly in urban areas. When rain falls on impervious rooftops, parking lots, streets, sidewalks and compacted soils, it runs off into storm drains, streams and rivers instead of soaking into soil.
Stormwater run-off leads to flooding, streambank erosion and pollutants being carried to surface water. As stormwater runs over surfaces like roof-tops, parking lots, lawns and other land, it picks up pollutants in its path and carries these via storm drains to surface water.
Treating rainwater as a waste product to be gotten rid of as quickly as possible also represents a lost opportunity to efficiently use a valuable resource. Why not harvest some rain and make use of it in the landscape?
While reclaimed rainwater can be used for non-potable indoor uses, and even drinking water after correct treatment, the easiest way to use harvested rainwater is in the landscape.
We've have talked about rain gardens in this column before. This year, make a New Year’s resolution to harvest the rain and help conserve and protect this valuable resource.