I have a real love/hate relationship with water…curious for someone whose body is about 60% water! Two years ago a groundhog family (unbeknownst to me) took up residence beneath my front porch. Their digging re-routed rainwater toward my home’s foundation causing extensive damage and ultimately necessitated a new foundation, a French drain, and the re-building of my porch…$$$!
Now I’m obsessed with keeping excess water away from my home, and coupled with a heightened awareness of environmental issues, I have fast-forwarded to rain barrels. Previously the only thing I knew about rain barrels was a song I was taught as a child:
I have since learned there is WAY more to rain barrels than I had previously thought! Water is such a basic need that it’s not surprising humans have been devising methods of collecting it since ancient times. The Valens aqueduct brought water from surrounding hillsides to the medieval city of Constantinople (now Istanbul) to be stored in reservoirs and giant underground cisterns like Yerebatan Sarayi, pictured here:
In the desert, ancient Egyptians dug a network of underground cisterns that collected rainwater. Over these cisterns, Egyptian armies built fortresses that were almost impervious to enemy invasion. Clearly, collecting and recycling water is not a new concept. As scientists began to understand the need for good sanitation and indoor plumbing became more available, older methods of water collection lost their popularity. The collected water was too contaminated. Today, we are vitally aware of the need to be good stewards of this precious resource!