WHEELING, W.Va. (March 23, 2015)- – Collecting rainwater in a barrel not only does good things for your garden but also provides money-saving benefits and helps improve the water quality of a community, said Alice Eastman, director of Oglebay Institute’s Schrader Environmental Education Center.

The Schrader Center is hosting a rain barrel workshop where participants will learn about the many uses of a rain barrel and even build some themselves. The program takes place from 10 a.m. – noon Saturday, April 11 at the Center, located in Oglebay Resort.

“Rainwater is naturally soft and doesn’t contain the dissolved minerals like treated water does. It is much better for washing your car and watering indoor and outdoor plants,” Eastman said.

According to Eastman, lawn and garden watering make up nearly 40% of total household water use during the summer. “Rain barrels can definitely save on your water bill. Instead of using water from the tap or faucet, you can use the water you’ve saved to keep your lawn and garden flourishing.”

Having a rain barrel is also one of the most cost-effective ways for homeowners to improve the water quality in their community. By reducing storm water runoff, rain barrels help control local flooding, recharge local ground water resources, protect creeks and streams from erosion and keep pollutants from entering waterways.

Eastman said most people put a barrel under a downspout so that it catches rain that runs off the roof. A typical house has a roof area of 1,200 square feet and four downspouts that will each drain about 300 square feet of roof. That means a rainfall of 0.3 inches will fill a 55-gallon rain barrel placed under each downspout.

“By diverting the runoff from your roof, rain barrels help reduce peak volume and velocity of storm water runoff reaching local waterways. Rain barrels with a drainage valve can store water for use between rain events. When the valve is opened, the water empties out slowly, thus reducing runoff and increasing infiltration.”

At the April 11 workshop, participants will learn about the uses and benefits of “caught water” and assemble their own rain barrels. All materials, including the barrel, are provided. Workshop attendees must pre-register by calling 304-242-6855 or by visiting