Do you know what happens during and after a rainstorm? Chances are all that water is rushing right off of nearby buildings and pavement and back into the local waterways, bringing a whole lot of pollution with it. By capturing rainwater with strategies like rain barrels and water gardens, you can put it to use to water your plants or flush the toilets.
Remember to track your impact in gallons of water saved this year. Estimate your impact by adding up the amount that will likely be saved by using water from the barrels instead of the hose or spigot.
- Learn more about your local watershed: where the school’s water comes from and where it goes in storm sewers when it leaves the site.
- Identify a level area near a downspout on the school or campus grounds to install a rain barrel, and get approval from a school administrator for the project.
- Find a large waterproof container that you can use to create your rain barrel. Install a downspout diverter that will allow the water to flow into the barrel from the downspout but divert out to the storm sewer if the barrel gets full.
- You can have fun decorating the barrel, and then you're ready to install it at the school!
- Encourage teachers to incorporate water education into their lesson planning using in-depth curriculum resources from Learning Lab .
Get help in making and using the rain barrel with these resources:
- Check the Green Strides  portal from the Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools program for updated resources from federal agencies and partners.
- For detailed step-by-step guides on creating and installing your own rain barrels, check out the rainwater resources from Chesapeake Bay Foundation  and watch this video  produced by HGTV.
- Find your watershed using the EPA’s online tool .