Rainwater harvesting is an age-old practice that has been widely used for centuries.

When rainwater is not being recaptured by the environment, it produces runoff from the urban landscape’s impermeable surfaces (such as concrete, asphalt, etc.) and carries pollutants into our waterways. Pollutants such as litter, plastic bags, cigarette butts, fertilizers, pet waste, soil and many other contaminants all enter our waterways untreated.

Rainwater harvesting is an easy practice that can be used in new and established communities.

Here are some of the many benefits of rainwater harvesting:

>> Saves money on utility bills.

>> Decreased flooding by reducing the amount of water flowing over the landscape.

>> Superior source of water for irrigation. Some plants prefer rainwater to treated city water, as it does not contain chlorine byproducts.

The easiest way to start rainwater harvesting is to use a rain barrel. Rain barrels can be placed at the end of roof gutters to collect water. The harvest potential is tremendous. A 1,000-square-foot roof can yield nearly 620 gallons of water from just one inch of rain!

Worried about your carbon footprint? Here’s some more motivation: For every million gallons of water saved, carbon emissions are reduced by 1 to 1.5 tons!

If you are interested in installing a rain barrel, gutters do make for an easy transport system that can be easily modified to direct rainwater directly into the barrel. However, without gutters, rainwater can still be collected in the corner of your eaves, where rainwater naturally concentrates. It is best to install your barrel on a flat, elevated surface to create pressure for waterflow.

Ivy Rain Barrels can be pre-ordered today for the discounted price of $68 (originally $128) at rainbarrelprogram.org/fdsc. Pick-up for your rain barrels will be at the local Florence County Extension Office at 2685 S. Irby St.

Visit the link to pre-order and learn more about the installation of your barrel. The website offers more information on the barrel as well as an instructional installation video. For any questions, contact Sarah Rogers at skr@clemson.edu.

Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to people of all ages, regardless of race, color, gender, religion, national origin, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital or family status and is an equal opportunity employer.