The Rain Barrel: SoCal’s Hot New Backyard Accessory?

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The Rain Barrel: SoCal's Hot New Accessory

If California’s (no) water situation seems to be taking up a lot of our attention, it’s because certain circumstances, while unfortunate, provide us opportunities to talk about good preparedness practices that may otherwise slip off our radar.

Here’s a pretty cool example. In response to record low precipitation levels, some Southern California cities have implemented what they’re calling “no-brainer, low-hanging fruit solution[s]” for water independence—policies and projects geared to reclaiming and recycling local water.

An ABC News story from earlier this month describes the rainwater collection system that waters the Santa Monica city library’s extensive gardens, as well as the water recycling plant near the famous pier that supplies irrigation to several local parks and schools.

And individuals are catching on. The same article calls resident Josephine Miller’s 205 gallon rain barrel “fashionable,” as neighborhoods dive in to take advantage of local government rebates for home water conservation. While your city hall may not pay you for your efforts, rainwater storage makes efficient use of one of the few free resources at our disposal. Just make sure it’s legal to do so in your city or state, first.

So, if you’re interested in harnessing some May showers for yourself, here are a handful of tips, tutorials, and helpful products.

  • Heard worrisome things about using roof-collected rainwater on edible plants? Educate yourself on the real and not-so-real risks, courtesy Rutgers’ cooperative extension.
  • Better safe than sorry, right? Here are two more useful lists—one from Organic Gardening and one from the University of Rhode Island—of ways to make your rainwater safe and usable.

 

Here’s wishing you a happy and drippy spring!

–Stacey

Photo Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

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