620-gallon rain barrel, green-and-greener.com
Storm water harvesting is just a fancy way of saying that you save rain and store it for future use. Why should you do this? First of all, it's a great way to save money. I mean, the water is literally falling from the sky, you might as well use it for something, right? A lot of people in dry areas like Los Angeles are under the impression that rain barrels, the common term of rain water storage devices, don't make sense because it doesn't rain enough. But did you know that 1,000 square feet of roof x 1-inch of rain equals 600-gallons. THAT"S RIGHT...600-gallons! Meaning the average home in Los Angeles has the opportunity to capture 21,000-gallons (average rainfall in Los Angeles 15-inches x average American home 2,349 square feet.)
According to Los Angeles DWP, the average Angeleno uses 155-gallons of water a day and about 60% of that is used outdoors. So if you have 3 people in your home, you are using about 101,835 gallons just on exterior irrigation. So without even changing your plants or irrigation, you could offset your water use by 20% by getting rain barrels. If you switch to native and California friendly plants, meaning plants that use less water since they are designed to flourish in our climate, and drip irrigation, since a lot of water is wasted using sprinklers because of evaporation and inefficient distribution to the actual plants, you could cut your water use for landscaping to nothing (depends on how large an area you plant of course.)
Rain barrels, also called rain water harvesting or storm water harvesting or above ground tanks, are above ground rain water storage options. If you put something underground it is called a cistern. Rain barrels start at 54-gallons for around $150. New large capacity ones have recently been introduced to the market that start at $359 for 305 gallons and go up to $3,259 for 2,825 gallons. There are also new "slim" systems that are only 17 - 25 inches deep and fit nicely up against a house wall (see image above.) Many systems can be stacked or "daisy-chained" in order to create systems that capture as much water as you have space to put rain barrels, and can also be hooked up to your irrigation systems (sprinklers or drip) by using a pump. If you don't want a pump, you can just hook a hose up to the outlet, which is always at the bottom of the barrel, and let gravity do the work of moving the water for you.
For more information: visit green-and-greener.com