Every time it rains, water runs off surfaces, such as roofs, and flows across land, collecting dirt, fertilizer, oil or garbage along the way. The United States Environmental Protection Agency estimates that pollutants carried by rain water runoff account for 70% of all water pollution.
A rain catcher can collect rainwater runoff and prevent excess water from leaving the property, allowing you to save the water for later use.
Create a Rain Catcher
You can make a rain catcher by putting out a container to collect rooftop runoff. Some people put up a chain that directs water from a rooftop or gutter to a container or basin. Some people attach their gutters to a barrel to collect rainfall.
Now that you have collected some precious water, decide what to do with it.
• Draw or tell about your ideas for helpful ways to use the water.
• What do you think we should do with it?
• Should we give it to a plant?
• Put it in a bird bath?
• What other ideas do you have?
Measuring the Rain: Make a Rain Gauge
When you’re in your house, watching it rain, do you ever wonder how much water is really falling? Sometimes seems like buckets? Or maybe it’s just drizzling and you wonder if it’s really adding up.
Here’s a way to find out: make your own rain gauge!
What you’ll need:
• A plastic (soft drink) bottle
• Some stones or pebbles
• Marker (felt pen)
• A ruler
1. Have your adult cut the top off the bottle where the walls are straight. (save the top)
2. Place some stones or sand in the bottom of the bottle.
3. Use a ruler and marker pen to make a scale on the bottle.
4. Pour water into the bottle until it reaches the bottom strip on the scale.
5. Turn the top of the bottle upside down and put into the bottle to act as a funnel, to keep the water from evaporating.
6. Put your rain gauge outside where it can collect water when it starts raining. After the shower has finished, check to see how far up the scale the water has risen.
Water falls into the top of the gauge and collects at the bottom, where you can measure it. Try comparing the amount of water to the length of time the shower lasted, was it a short and heavy rain shower or a long and light one?
If you want to get serious you can record the rainfall over weeks or even months, this is especially interesting if the place you live experiences varying seasons where sometimes it is very dry and other times it is very wet.