Better Than a Barrel of Monkeys

More Savvy Tips

A rain barrel—used to catch storm runoff from your roof—does wonders for the environment. First, it keeps usable water out of the sewer and water treatment system. It also helps reduce overflow in the sewers. And it reduces the amount of potable water that must be used for things like irrigation and toilet flushing. To begin harvesting useful rainwater, just slide a rain barrel under a shortened downspout from your roof. San Francisco residents can get a deal on a 60-gallon rain barrel through a partnership between Cole Hardware and the Public Utilities Commission. If you prefer the do-it-yourself approach, visit the Maryland Department of Natural Resources for instructions on building your own rain barrel.