If you haven’t attended a rainwater harvesting workshop with our office, you should. It’s that time of year again when the rains commence, and we can most certainly take advantage of the season. Rainwater harvesting is a great way to capture and utilize this free resource.

We offer rainwater harvesting workshops where participants learn how to set up their rain barrels, connect more than one barrel and install overflow accommodations. Instructions regarding safety considerations, maintenance and painting barrels are also presented.

Rain barrels are devices that collect rainwater used mainly for landscape irrigation. These devices reduce stormwater runoff and erosion because they catch and contain it. Rain barrels also decrease the amount of potable water used for landscape irrigation because you use the water you capture to irrigate your plants.

Rainwater harvesting is important because 1 inch of rain on a 1,000-square-foot roof yields 623 gallons of water. Florida’s annual precipitation average is 54.57 inches. Each of us could harvest more than 34,000 gallons.

That’s why participants are taught how to make their own rain barrels, because one is definitely not enough. Past workshop attendees have said that since attending this training, they have purchased additional rain barrels from feed stores or online. Also, they love the conservation aspects of rainwater harvesting and are glad to do their part in decreasing stormwater runoff and erosion. Most wish they had more barrels.

Attend a rainwater harvesting workshop with our office and learn another water conservation method. We also teach three types of microirrigation (traditional, patio/container and vegetable garden). Follow your homeowners association architectural control or landscape committee procedures before you incorporate changes in your landscapes.

To register for rainwater harvesting and other workshops in Hillsborough County, please go to https://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/hillsborough/upcoming-events/. We provide one rain barrel per household which has been drilled and spigoted. Some rules apply.

As always, remember to reduce, reuse, recycle and repeat. Each of us can make an environmental difference.

Contact Lynn Barber at labarber@ufl.edu.

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