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We all know how important water is in Colorado, and how precious it can be. A simple way to help the local water conservation effort is to collect rainwater in water barrels, a practice that officially became legal in Colorado in 2016.

“This is a victory for Coloradans who care about their state’s incredible rivers, lakes, streams, and waters. Rain barrels are an important educational tool and a great first step toward conservation and increasing awareness about the water challenges facing Colorado,” said Pete Maysmith, executive director with the nonprofit Conservation Colorado.

In addition to conservation, the water from rain barrels is great for your lawn, garden, and soil, as rainwater is highly oxygenated. It’s free of the salts, inorganic ions, and fluoride compounds contained in tap water that accumulate in the soil over time and potentially harm plant roots. Using rainwater in your garden dilutes this impact, making plants more drought-tolerant, healthy, and strong.

Rain barrels can also help contain moisture levels around the foundation of your home. Collecting rainwater before it hits ground levels will help to prevent flooding, damp, and mold.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 40% of residential water use occurs during the summer – gardening and growing season. Using water collected in rain barrels, the typical gardener can save up to 1,200 gallons of water each year. This can help you save big on your water bill, too.

What else can you use rain barrels for? Try washing your car with the rainwater. Or give your dog a bath! Rainwater doesn’t have any added salt or chemicals so you’ll get a nice, pure clean.

You can find rain barrels at Home Depot, Lowes, Ace Hardware, and other home and garden stores. The company BlueBarrel facilitates local exchanges for repurposed barrels and will send you a DIY install kit. Or, of course, rain barrels are available on Amazon.