Rain barrels

Here in SRQ we have “sprawl”.  Instead of building up or building upon the infrastructure already in place, we find new areas to demolish and we build out.  We are clearing land that would be filtering rainwater and replacing the natural filter with concrete.  The run-off is then piped into an inadequate storm water system.  During our rainy season, it isn’t unusual to have to make our way through flooded streets.  Too much concrete and too little green space.  What a shame that this precious commodity is treated with little or no thought.  I will hop off my soap-box now and offer an effective, affordable way to harvest the rain…

Savings all around:

You may be thinking… one little barrel isn’t gonna make a difference – so why bother and this is where I would urge you to look at the big picture.  If half the residents (that would be in the area of 21,000 people) of Sarasota were to install one rain barrel and make use of the water, it would go a long way as to ease the strain on our storm water system.  We would be decreasing the demand on municipal supplies and all that harvested rainwater wouldn’t become polluted storm water run-off.

The use of rain barrels not only helps the environment, it can save you money.  Instead of turning on the hose to water your plants, wash your car, top off the pool or bathe Fido, turn the spigot on your rain barrel instead.  Harvested rainwater hasn’t been chlorinated, or artificially softened but it has run off of your roof  so don’t drink it.

Rain Barrel

Sarasota County Extension offers rain barrel workshops .  The last one was right before Christmas.  I do love the season but from October through December, every commercial is looking to separate me from my hard-earned dollars.  The thought of a truly useful gift was refreshing… so I bought extra.  You can buy the barrels and fixtures for only $37.00 at the workshops.  A schedule of classes can be found here.

If you’re a do-it-your-self-er, you can make your own barrels and configure a system that would allow you to harvest hundreds of gallons of water.

Other ways to filter storm water run-off is to install a rain garden .  There are some great native plants that prefer wet or saturated soils.  perennials, grasses, trees, and shrubs can be worked into your landscape and there are beautiful native varieties that prefer a wet-land habitat.

While your watering your plants with your harvested rainwater, you can be sure to feel good that your household supports sustainable landscape practices.

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