Water conservation

Collecting rainwater can save you money on your water bill and help restore your lush garden

Bell County, Texas (KWTX) – As water conservation measures continue here in parts of central Texas, we have a way for you to keep your garden lush without breaking those rules.

Rainwater harvesting has many benefits for your garden and your wallet.

Ideal for watering plants, the natural irrigation system will also save you money when paying your water bill each month.

“Oh, the benefits are mind-blowing,” says Kenneth Schoen.

Schoen, a 79-year-old Vietnam War veteran, has been collecting rainwater since 2013.

He has over 1,500 gallons of storage tanks on his property which he uses to collect water.

“I use it almost every day unless it rains,” Schoen said.

By using the water to feed his plants and wash his dogs when they get muddy, Schoen is able to save money on his water bill while supporting conservation efforts.

“Your water bill is lower. I would say it’s number one,” said Teri Marceau of Texas Master Gardeners.

A 2,000 square foot home can collect 1,200 gallons of water in a one inch rainfall.

“It’s the best water for your plants because it doesn’t contain any chemicals or impurities, and we highly recommend it for plant watering,” said Karen Colwick of Texas Master Gardeners.

Teri and Karen are both retired but use their time to educate and help others get started with their own water harvesting system.

Kenneth Schoen, a retired Vietnam War veteran, uses his harvested water daily.(KWTX)

Creating your own water harvesting system is easy.

A typical installation consists of a rain barrel and a means for water to enter your barrel, either through an open top system or a tube feeding water from your roof into the barrel.

“Do what I do, just stick it under the roof line. Not even a valley, it’s a straight roof like what you see here like a triangle, and it collects all the water that will fall into this barrel at that time,” Marceau said.

Rain barrels reduce the demand on municipal water supplies as well as flooding, erosion and surface water contamination.

It is also an excellent use for swimming pools, aquariums and house plants.

Complete list of building materials:

– Food grade barrel

– Anti-insect net (to filter the water)

– Faucet (to drain water)

– 1.75″ bulkhead fitting (0.75 internal pipe thread)

– Drill

– 1.75″ saw bit

– Jigsaw (or small hand saw)

– Silicone sealant

– Teflon tape

– Bungee cord and cinder blocks (optional, to keep the bug netting around the barrel)