How to save water (and money) with rainwater harvesting

Help conserve water and lower your bills with a rainwater collection system in your backyard.

Rain barrels are lined up off the side of a road leading to Nissan Stadium. You can see the stadium in the background.

If you purchase a Metro Water Service rain barrel, it will be available for pickup on Saturday, March 23 from Nissan Stadium’s Lot R South.

Photo via MWS

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The majority of Tennessee, including Davidson County, remains under severe to extreme drought conditionsdespite some rainy days and winter weather this past week.

Did you know? Tennessee is one of several states without restrictions on how you capture and use rainwater. So, let it rain, let it pour — we’re here to help you capitalize on the scarce resource, not to mention save money on your water bill.

What’s rainwater harvesting?

Building a rainwater harvesting system is an easy way to provide non-potable water for your plants. The best part: After some small start-up costs, it’s free — and we love free.

The system collects water off non-permeable surfaces like your roof and funnels it into a storage chamber like a rain barrel or cistern to be used when rain isn’t in the forecast — i.e. now and into the summer. A general rule of thumb: One inch of rain produces about a half gallon for every square foot of roof.

How do I get started?

Metro Water Services hosts a rain barrel sale each year. The 2024 sale closes Sunday, March 10, plus, here are some tips on making your own. Bonus: Watch this video and take a short quiz to be entered into a drawing for a free barrel from MWS.

Become a certified Tennessee Smart Yard. Outside of taking your sustainable practices further, the free program comes with its own bragging rights and perks: A free yard sign, tree from Root Nashville, and 25-pound bag of Music City Gold fertilizer.

Go beyond your own home. Keep Nashville’s water supply clean by participating in Metro’s Adopt-A-Stream program. You can also attend + listen to upcoming River Talks with Cumberland River Compact, which feature conversations with experts, artists, researchers, and professionals.

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