We have five rain barrels in our back yard, and honestly, we could do with a couple more out front. It doesn't take neophyte gardeners very long to discover that watering with treated city water just doesn't make the garden as happy as the rain that runs down the roof, into the eavestroughs, through the pipes and into those barrels. And there's something that just feels right about watering with a rain-filled watering can rather than a hose. For one thing, it's using a resource that ends up running through our sewers if we don't catch it. For another, it's a gentler, more energy efficient way of providing what our plants really need. Rain water doesn't have to be gathered from our river, run through our water treatment plants, and forced through watermains and pipes to our hoses before our plants get it.
In Australia, which has been going through a long drought period, there are plenty of folks who are relying on rain water capture systems to provide for their water intake needs, not just for their gardens, but for their existence. Our neighbours own a piece of land where it was impossible to drill a well, so they have an amazing rain water system that fills a large juice tank from the roof of their cottage. As the world's fresh water supplies have more and more demands placed upon them by over seven billion people, we need to start doing more serious thinking about our collection and use of water, which is a resource that is turning out to have definite limits in many places in the world.
I've always loved Isaiah 55 where it says,
As the rain and the snowGod's providence is amazing. He and she does things totally organically -- so when it comes to water in this part of the world, we're fortunate that all we need to do is have a little consideration, and set up some rain barrels!
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.