Capture Water from Roofs to Prevent Run Off

By National Gardening Association Editors


Image credit: Flickr/scottie32

Roofs collect a surprising amount of rain during a storm.  For instance, a roof that is half the size of a single tennis court can produce more than 600 gallons of water pollution runoff in a one inch rain storm — that’s the amount of water in an eight person hot tub!  Think about all of the roofs in just one neighborhood — even small rain storm can create a lot of water runoff that will pick up many pollutants on its way to the closest storm drain, stream, or lake. Instead of letting all that water fall off our roofs and down the driveway or road, we can collect it to water our plants and gardens.  If you don’t have gutters, try planting a row of shrubs below the eaves to absorb runoff from the roof.  If you have gutters, think about installing one or more rain barrels or cisterns to catch and store that water for later use.  You can also direct the water from the gutter downspout into a beautiful rain garden.  There’s a lot of room for creativity, so have fun while preventing water pollution!

From our friends at Lake Champlain International, the water quality experts. More tips at

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