Water Conservation

Water is a shared resource that keeps our community healthy and our economy growing. South Florida gets about 53 inches of rain per year, but much of it is “lost” to evaporation. Plus, most rain falls during our short wet season, leaving about eight months of the year relatively dry—and these happen to be the winter months when our population swells and agriculture peaks.  Water conservation helps to extend our available water supply through the dry months, supports economic growth, and protects the environment for fish and wildlife. It is also faster, cheaper, and more energy-efficient than developing new water sources.

A rain barrel is a water catchment device designed to collect and store the rainwater from your roof that is normally diverted to storm drains or lost to evaporation. Concern over drought, wasted resources, and stricter water conservation laws have revitalized the practice of capturing rainwater during storms and stockpiling it for use in drier times.

Rain barrel with exterior decorated by underwater scene

Residents of the Boynton Beach Utilities Service Area are eligible for FREE rain barrels while supplies last. To apply for a rain barrel, please review the  Rain Barrel Presentation and complete the rain barrel application. If your application is approved, we will notify you by email and phone to schedule a time for you to pick up the 55-gallon white rain barrel. Rain barrel information and installation instructions will be included.  This offer is limited to one rain barrel per household.

Rain Barrel Benefits

  • Alleviates the conveyance of pesticides, fertilizers, and other pollutants to water bodies (ponds, streams, lakes, and coastlines)
  • Conserves drinking water supply by reducing potable water use and replenishing groundwater
  • Reduces standing water around property
  • Provides consistent water source for healthy plants and landscaping

Rain Barrel Uses

  • Watering lawn and garden
  • Watering potted plants
  • Washing vehicles
  • Filling swimming pools and ponds
  • DO NOT DRINK rain barrel water unless treated

How much water will I capture?

  • 1 inch of rainfall on 1 square foot of surface area yields 0.62 gallons
  • Your roof’s harvesting capacity = rainfall in inches × 0.62 × square feet of roof that will drain into the barrel
  • 1 inch rainfall event x 0.62 x 200 square feet = 124 gallons This shows that a small rainfall event will easily fill a 55 gallon rain barrel.
  • 59 inches of rainfall annually x 0.62 x 200 square feet = 7,316 gallons in a year

Rain Barrel Installation Instructions

Recommended shopping list:

  • Two 24” x 24” x 2” cement tiles
  • Four cement cinder blocks
  • One short garden hose
  • Something to cut your rain gutter

1. Find a space along the perimeter of your house next to a downspout and clear away any loose debris.

2. Remove the elbow from base of the downspout and put aside for later (you will need it).

3. Build your base:
a. Lay down one cement tile, making sure this base layer is level.
b. Stand four cinder blocks on top and at the corners of the base tile.
c. Place the final cement tile layer on top.

4. Place your barrel on top of the base, with the faucet easily accessible.

5. Cut the downspout so that it stops about a foot above the top of the barrel.

6. Re-attach the elbow so that the downspout is directed into the mesh opening.

7. Attach a short garden hose to the over flow spout towards the top of barrel and direct it to an appropriate place.

Questions? Contact the Office of Sustainability

Boynton Beach Utilities is committed to providing tools that will reduce your water use inside and outside of your home. Free conservation kits are available for residents of the Utilities Service Area while supplies last. The kit includes a low-flow showerhead,  LED light bulb, replacement toilet flapper, and leak detector dye tablets. Water-saving hose nozzles are also available as supplies last.

Pick up your kit at one of these locations:

  • City Hall at the Customer Service window, 100 E. Ocean Ave., Monday – Friday 8am to 5pm
  • Utilities Administration Building, 124 E. Woolbright Rd., Monday – Friday 8am to 4:30pm

The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) Year-Round Landscape Irrigation Rule permits up to three days per week of watering in Palm Beach County. Odd-numbered addresses may water lawns and landscapes on Mondays, Wednesdays and/or Saturdays. Even-numbered addresses may water on Tuesdays, Thursdays and/or Sundays. All watering should be done ONLY before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m.

The Year-Round Landscape Irrigation Rule allows additional watering for new lawn and landscaping for up to 90 days, unless local landscape irrigation ordinances are in place. Users of Reclaimed Water (link) are encouraged to conserve water voluntarily. 

The complete Year-Round Landscape Irrigation Rule can be found online

Fifth-grade students and teachers in the Boynton Beach Utilities service area enjoyed another successful year of the Water Conservation Education program. The program teaches students the importance of conservation through classroom activities and the installation of water saving devices in their own homes. In 2017, 943 fifth graders and their teachers participated, with an estimated annual program savings of 8.2 million gallons of water and 8,127 kWh of electricity (8,693 gallons of water and kWh per household).

Outdoor Tips  

  • Set automatic timer based on seasonal plant needs
  • Water only areas that show signs of stress 
  • Water early in the day – best before sunrise 
  • Water deeply = longer roots 
  • Keep mower blades sharp and raise the blade 
  • Use a rain sensor to regulate the sprinkler system 
  • Use Florida-friendly landscaping 
  • Use a broom, not a hose, to clean driveway 
  • Use a hose shut-off nozzle 
  • Install a rain barrel to capture rainwater 

Indoor Tips 

  • Fix leaks! One drop per second from a leaky faucet = 3,150 gallons per year! 
  • Install low-flow toilets 
  • Replace old showerheads 
  • Add aerators to faucets 
  • Use more efficient dishwashers & washing machines 
  • Turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth or rinsing vegetables 
  • Take shorter showers 
  • Wash full laundry and dish loads

Conservation Links