As March melts into April and snow turns to rain, Calgarians can begin thinking about practicing water conservation with the use of a rain barrel.

Utilizing rain courtesy of Mother Nature is not only good for your yard and garden, it’s also easy on the water bill.

How to Make a Rain Barrel

“There are so many advantages to using a rain barrel in Calgary. We have an arid climate here, so we tend to use a lot of city water in our yards during the summer. Using a rain barrel means collecting free water that doesn’t need to go through the city’s water treatment facilities – which require energy and money to operate,” said Jori Baum, healthy homes advisor for Green Calgary.

Baum added diverting water away from storm drains helps alleviate pressure on rivers, especially during “crazy” spring rains — helping protect against the chances of flooding.

While helping to alleviate pressure on Calgary’s Bow and Elbow Rivers, utilizing rain barrels are also a major contributor to eco-friendly living.

“Water treatment facilities use energy, and energy production contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. By using rainwater we are reducing the amount of water that goes through the water treatment plant therefore reducing the amount of energy they require,” said Baum. “Also, when it rains in Calgary, a lot of that water lands on impervious surfaces – roads, sidewalks, roofs – and is funneled into the storm drains and then into the rivers. This water picks up a lot of contaminants on its way. By using a rain barrel we are helping reduce the amount of toxins heading to the Bow and Elbow rivers.”

Adding to your eco-friendly brownie points is the fact the barrels are refurbished. Baum explained the 45-gallon; food grade drums are used in the food industry and would normally head to the landfill once used. Green Calgary’s “Barrelman” collects the drums, cleans them and turns them into rain barrels.

“Unlike other rain barrels that may be made of new plastic and/or (made) overseas and carry a large eco-footprint, our barrels are upcycled, and help reduce waste going to the landfill,” Baum said.

Green Calgary has 11 community sales spanning throughout the city from April to August providing both rain barrel and composters and in turn acting as a fundraiser for the nonprofit registered charity.

To learn more about Green Calgary Rain Barrel and Composter Community Sales visit