stated, saving rainwater saves money. Plus, for Milwaukee area
homeowners, there are other important justifications in using nature’s
own "beverage" for lawn and garden irrigation.
designer Remy Mesrobian and watershed and restoration ecologist Pete
Hill, both of Marek Landscaping, lay out the facts:
water results in healthier plants and better growth.
» The process
saves the energy that is required to treat and pump water.
rainwater reduces impact
to local streams
by preventing rainwater from carrying pollutants to the storm sewer
» When done on
a large scale, it reduces the occurrence of combined sewer
rainwater makes you more aware of soil moisture and plant
Hill indicate that the most common first step in saving rainwater is
figuring out what size barrels to use. A homeowner should then look
for an easily cleanable or replaceable filter system. For extra
protection, a clear or white rainbarrel is best so that algae does not
grow inside it, they say.
should also look for a good overflow hole that is at least 1.5 inches
in diameter. This is important under heavy downpours, when most
collection systems will fill up quickly," Hill says, adding that
the overflow can be directed to an area of the yard away from the
Both men agree
that having a way to disconnect flow in the winter is also important.
"Some barrels have valves that can be turned off, or the system
can be set to ‘winter mode’ from an attachment to the
downspout," Mesrobian suggests.
and receptacles can be purchased through the Milwaukee Metropolitan
Sewerage District (MMSD), which also has a list of vendors on its
website (mmsd.com/rainbarrels/where-to-buy). Among these outlets are
Outpost Natural Foods, Whole Foods, Reflo, Stein’s Garden and Home,
Choice Landscaping and Garden Center, and the villages of Greendale
eagerly embracing this concept of saving rainwater, with Mesrobian
pointing out that MMSD has distributed or sold more than 21,000
barrels from 2004 to 2015.
a challenge to get clients to consider saving rainwater once they
understand how to use it and how it can benefit them and their local
water bodies," he