It is always a good idea to collect rain water for the plants in your garden as it gives a degree of Independence in water terms. They collect water that falls on the roof of your house and would otherwise go down the drain. An unexpected bonus of having a water butt came about a month ago when our water supply was cut off for a day for an unknown reason. As it became obvious that the toilet was going to use up all out reserves in the tank in the attic we had to dip into the reserves in our butt. We managed fine.
Water butts are recommended as a way of taking the strain off the water supply system. Also, the fact that you are using water in the same place as where it fell means that you are not adding to the resources used in cleaning it and pumping it around to houses. But to me, the main benefit of collecting your own water is that there are no added chemicals like fluorine in it. Whatever about humans, I don't think that our tomatoes need stronger teeth!
Here is our water butt. When we got to this house there was no down spout leading into the water butt so Chris has been trying out different ways of channelling the rain water into the container. The previous one leaked a bit at the top at so the wall got a bit damp but this latest model seems perfect. he has used a vacuum cleaner hose(which he found dumped by the side of the road) as the connection from the gutter to the butt. It's absolutely perfect.
As we have just had the driest April on record in many parts of the country it seems even more important to use the water butt. A couple of hours of heavy rain with completely fill the butt and the other smaller water containers we have, so we filled up last week during one of the brief breaks in the weather and that should keep us going for about another two weeks without rain.
The fact that we don't have an outside tap also makes the butt very handy as we don't have to go into the house for water. Our hose seemed to keep coming off the tap in the kitchen sink and sending sprays of water everywhere. The bottle being filled, above, is going into the greenhouse so that the water that is used on the plants there is at a nice temperature and will not give them a shock.
We also have a water collection system on the greenhouse. It's surprising how much water can be collected from even this very small surface. The yellow hose which was dumped near the river beside us has come in really handy for this job. It goes under ground for about 10 feet and then drains into a large container so we have even more water collection capacity.
So overall it's handy, we have healthier vegetables, use up less resources and will be more likely to have water for our vegies if there are water shortages later in the summer.