Collect Rain Water at Home

Weather forecasters are expecting La Niña conditions in Southern California this fall and winter, which could mean an extended dry season, and any Southland rainy day a precious one.

But, by collecting the water — in barrels or other containers — that comes in what is our typical “rainy season” (October to March and averaging 15 inches), you can impact your home, yard and environment in a positive way.

Rainwater harvesting, as it’s known, is a simple way to conserve water, save money on your water bill, and can help protect the environment. The rainwater that falls on the roofs of houses can be collected and conveyed through roof gutters and downspouts to a rain barrel.

Collecting and harvesting rainwater also makes sense if you consider that every day, more than 100 million gallons of urban runoff flows through LA’s storm drain system and out to the ocean. During storms, that figure can increase to tens of billions of gallons of rainwater.

To put it another way, a 1,000 square foot home has the potential to capture 9,600 gallons of rainwater that flows off the home’s roof during an average rainy season here. 

The installation of the rain barrels requires minimum work and little maintenance. The collected rainwater can be used for watering plants and irrigating gardens or lawns.

Residents in and near the community of Sylmar had the opportunity to get a free barrel on Saturday, Nov. 21, at the Lopez Canyon Environmental Education Center. The barrels were offered on a first-come, first served basis by LA Councilmember Monica Rodriguez, in conjunction with the Coca-Cola soft drink company and Steve List from the Sylmar Agriculture Learning Center.

Rodriguez started this program in 2014, and has now distributed more than 3,000 rain barrels citywide.

For those persons who have never considered or actually collected rainwater for personal use, a free Zoom webinar will be broadcast on Dec. 5 from 10:30 to noon hosted by the Los Angeles Sanitation and Environment’s Watershed Protection Program, and  sustainable gardening and landscaping expert Mike Garcia, founder of EnviroScape.

Garcia provides step-by-step instructions on how to install rain barrels at your home, and also highlighted how the collected rainwater can be used to irrigate lawns and gardens and minimize the amount of water flowing into storm drains and local waterways.

For more information on the program, visit its webpage and register here for the free Zoom rain barrel installation webinar.
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