Conservation Notes: Promote Water Conservation

02/14/2011 10:37

Water is essential to life. Promote water conservation through the use of rain barrels.

What is a rain barrel? A rain barrel is a system of collecting and storing water from the roofs of homes, barns and sheds. Rain barrels prevent water from attaching to soil or pollutants and being carried away and washed into storm drains. Reducing stormwater runoff reduces the amount of pesticides and fertilizer that impacts our water supply. Rain barrels protect and conserve an important natural resource, water. Depending on the amount of rainfall and size of roof, a large amount of water can be collected and stored. For every inch of rainfall on a 1000 square foot area, equals an accumulation of 600 gallons of water with the use of a rain barrel. Imagine how much water can be conserved! Collecting rainwater saves water for a future use. Rain barrels store and provide pure, natural water that is perfect for watering landscaping, gardens and washing cars and windows. For those living in town, the use of a rain barrel would have a great affect on the water bill.

The rain barrels are 100% recycled, as they are constructed from used food grade barrels. The barrels are cleaned and rinsed with rainwater, and then fittings and screens are added. Shapes of barrels may vary depending on the availability at the time. Rain barrels are black, blue, brown, grey or terra cotta in color. Rain barrels are available in 30, 50, 55 and 60 gallons. Depending on the size, barrels are $55, $60, or $65 each. Each rain barrel contains a perforated top with mesh screen, top overflow, plastic spigot, and a bottom drain. A 4' black linking hose may be purchased for $12. Linking hoses connect rain barrels together for additional water storage capabilities. Two sizes of flex elbows are offered. A 2"x3" flex elbow is $8, and a 3"x4" flex elbow is $12. Flex elbows direct water from the downspout into the rain barrel.

Information about rain barrels and a printable order form are available on the website at Order forms are also available at the Henry County SWCD office at 301 East North Street, in Cambridge. For more information regarding rain barrels, please call the office at 309.937.5263, extension 3 or e-mail Stop in and check out the rain barrel on display for viewing at the Henry County Soil and Water Conservation District!

- Monica Stevens, Resource Conservationist