Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Roll out the barrel, spring is right around the corner

by Carla Otredosky, The Groundwater Foundation

Out my window, the grass is beginning to peer from beneath the melting snow, a flock of birds gather and cheerfully chat. I note on my calendar to adjust my clock for daylight savings time this weekend and know that spring is just around the corner.
This got me thinking.

What is one simple thing that I can do in my own yard to become a groundwater-friendly gardener in 2009?

Use a rain barrel! A rain barrel is a large drum (50-60 gallon capacity) placed beneath the downspout of a home. This barrel collects rain water as it runs off the roof where it is stored for later use to water gardens and lawns.

The idea of capturing rain water has been around for thousands of years. While rain seems like an infinite resource, it is desperatley missed during a time of drought. If your water supply comes from a well or a stressed aquifer, then you are even more at risk during a dry spell of not having water available to irrigate your garden or lawn. Using a rain barrel is a great way to lower your water bill and become less dependent on your city’s water supply.

Rain barrels are an easy solution to becoming a groundwater-friendly gardener because they are easy to install and require very little maintenance.

Rain barrels are often available in shades of brown, black or green. But they can be painted in a color to match your house. Consider decorating your rain barrel with painted images (choose exterior grade paints) to add artistic interest to your yard.

Let's show our neighbors that we really do care about conserving water and install rain barrels this spring!

NOTE: The City of Lincoln Watershed Management Division and the Friends of Pioneers Park Nature Center invite you to view/bid on 25 rain barrels painted by local artists. Learn more about the "Artistic Rain Barrel Program" at http://www.lincoln.ne.gov/city/pworks/watrshed/educate/barrel/artist/index.htm.


Anonymous said...

What a great idea! But I don't live in Nebraska, so where can I buy a rain barrel?

Groundwater Foundation said...

Rain barrels can be purchased at your local garden or home improvement store and cost around $100 each. Additional parts may also be required in order to attach it to your downspout.

waterboy said...

Kansas City's 10,000 Rain Gardens website offers a long list of vendors who sell rain barrels. Or if you are handy, try and make your own. Instructions can be found here as well.


blueskies said...

I love the idea of a rain barrel, but don't have a great spot around my house to install one. We have buried downspouts with perforated pipe that help encourage groundwater recharge.