Another idea we came up with late last year - especially once we saw our water bill - was to collect rain water in barrels to use during the summer months. Strangely, living along the Pacific Coast (the 'wet' coast), we have very dry summers & last year, it didn't rain for almost 6 weeks!!
So, over the winter, we started to collect large blue barrels - these can be found floating out in the ocean or stashed in some one's back yard looking for something better to do. We generally use only the blue barrels as they are known to have contained food products versus the black barrels which generally have oil products. We've got a few white ones, but I have no idea what they held.
It's conveniently close enough to the raised beds to make it less of a chore than hauling around a garden hose. I think I might have an idea for connecting up some tubing or drip line that could be used in July & August.
We connected the 2 barrels together & as they fill, they will level each other out. Saves a bit on hardware. I'll have to become creative when it comes time to cover the tops - don't want to start increasing the mosquito population by having open, standing water available for larvae!
These barrels are in the front yard & are also all connected.
We have a system in the works at the back of the house that reclaims the washing machine water & you would be amazed at how much water is used for just 1 load of laundry!! We ran a hose down to these from the 3 barrels at the back of the house to fill these ones.
Right now, it looks a bit damp outside, so I won't have to use the rain barrel water for a bit. I hope not until the end of June at least!
I have yet another barrel at the side of the greenhouse - it collects a lot of water off the roof of the greenhouse & I've been using that water for over a month now to keep the greenhouse growing. It's also pretty interesting to note how much water you use when watering plants in pots. I bought a watering can & went through three 5-gallon pails of water in just one session!! Then I went back to using a yogurt container to direct water each plant & was amazed that I used considerably less water - but each plant was watered appropriately. Hmmm.
Will be interesting to see how much water I will require this summer for my gardens. I'll have to let you know.