A rain barrel is simply a cistern or artificial reservoir for storing rain water from downspouts. Rain barrels can save thousands of gallons of water a year and can be used to water gardens and yards during the dry summer months. As an added benefit, the water captured and stored in rain barrels is often better for your plants than water from other common sources. Rain water has not been treated with chemicals like drinking water has; it is also less likely to have salinity or hardness issues than well water. You can order rain barrels online or build your own using readily available materials. If you are interested in building your own rain barrel, check out the “Rain Barrels” section at the Burleigh County SCD website.