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How to collect rainwater in a water butt?

Posted by Callum VP, on June 22, 2020.

Using rainwater to water your garden instead of mains water is a smart thing to do if you want to improve the quality of the plants in your garden or produce in your allotment. There are two reasons for this, firstly, as rainwater is softer than mains water, it doesn’t damage your plants compared to mains water which is full of salts and chemicals. Secondly, rainwater has the right pH level for the majority of plants that you find in your garden.

With the UK experiencing drier weather during the summertime each year, you may want to start thinking about using a water butt to keep your garden or allotment in good nick during this time. In fact, if every household in the UK collected one water butt’s worth of water a year (160 litres) it would save up to four billion litres of mains water every year!

The best way for you to water your plants or produce with rainwater is to install a water butt in your garden or allotment. You can either connect a water butt to a downpipe coming off a shed or a downpipe connected to your property. There are two ways to do this, you can simply saw off the bottom half of the downpipe and simply position the top half over the water butt, however, with this method you risk your water butt overflowing during periods of heavy rainfall. The second method is to connect a downpipe filter from your downpipe to your water butt. A downpipe filter prevents any debris like moss and leaves from flowing into your water butt and some even come with an overflow stop, which means when the water level in the water butt reaches a certain point, it prevents more rainwater flowing into the tank causing it to overflow.

If you are interested in watering your garden or allotment with rainwater, then you will need to decide what type of water butt you want. You can either get a basic plastic water butt at a subsidised rate from your local council, if they do that, or purchase one from your local DIY store. Or, you can purchase a more decorative water butt which more people in the UK are doing. You can find more decorative water butts in all shapes and sizes ranging from lifelike antique terracotta amphoras to rustic wooden barrels, simply by searching online.

Water butts are a great way to help reduce the demand of mains water by substituting it for a natural resource and if you choose the right water butt, it can be a great feature in your garden.

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