Rainwater harvesting barrels.

If you haven’t attended a rainwater harvesting workshop with our office, UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County, you may want to sign-up to participate. We are well into the rainy season and can most certainly capture this free resource.

Extension offers rainwater harvesting workshops where participants learn about the benefits of collecting rainwater, the components of a rainwater collection system, the amount of water you can collect, rain barrel construction, mosquitoes and rainwater collection, do’s and don’ts, connecting multiple barrels and the installation of overflow accommodations. Instructions regarding safety considerations, maintenance and painting barrels are also provided.

Rain barrels are devices that collect rainwater used mainly for landscape irrigation. These devices reduce stormwater runoff and erosion as they catch and contain rain. This process decreases the amount of potable water used for landscape irrigation because you use the water you capture to irrigate landscape plants, not edibles.

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 53.7 inches. If we had the rainwater holding capacity, each of us could harvest more than 34,000 gallons each year.

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

Hillsborough County residents can attend a rainwater harvesting workshop with our office, in person or via Zoom, and learn this easy and inexpensive water conservation method. If you live in a deed-restricted community, follow your homeowner association architectural control or landscape committee procedures before you incorporate changes in your landscapes, including the installation of a rainwater harvesting system.

We provide one rain barrel per household which has been drilled and spigoted. Some rules apply. From February through November, we offer compost, microirrigation and rainwater harvesting workshops on the first Saturday of the month. To register for these and other workshops with our office, please go to www.eventbrite.com/o/ufifas-hillsborough-extension-8606873308. As always, remember to reduce, reuse, recycle and repeat. Each of us can make an environmental difference.

Contact Lynn Barber at labarber@ufl.edu.

Previous articleFish This! Fishing Report; September 2023
Next articleRotary Spotlight: Activities, Meetings & More