Saturday, February 21, 2009

Look What We're Getting!

Mom finally talked Dad into getting a rain barrel this year. I don't know why Dad has been so anti-rain barrel in the past, but this year he is on board and is ready to go green.

Our local forest preserve district, the Lake County Forest Preserve District, is currently selling rain barrels through their website, and via phone, fax, and mail. Simply place your order by April 29 and then pick it up on either May 15 or 16 at the Lake County Fairgrounds. What could be easier?

Rain barrels collect and store rainwater from your roof that would otherwise just go to waste. The water can be later used to water your plants and lawns when there is no rain. This is a great way to save money and water because every time you water the traditional way your water bill goes through the roof. Using a rain barrel also reduces the volume of water flowing into sewer treatment facilities. This can be a real problem when we get heavy rains.

But how much water can you really save? Mom is not good at math, so she found this statistic: one inch of rain on a 1,000 square foot roof yields 633 gallons of water. Dad will have to calculate the entire yield of our roof by multiplying the square footage of our roof by 623 and dividing by 1000. The look on Mom's face when she heard this formula was priceless. She couldn't figure this out is her life depended on it. I could probably figure it out, but the keys on the calculator are too small for my paws.

The rain barrels for sale are 55-gallon drums with a two-hose connection, plastic spigot, a bottom drain plug, and a screen to keep out debris. They are upcycled because they were previously used for food product shipping. Available in two colors, terra cotta or grey, Mom decided grey would be the best color for us since our house is a light grey color.

The rain barrel sale is sponsored by the Lake County Forest Preserve District, the Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District, and the Lake County Stormwater Management Commission. The proceeds of the sale will benefit the forest district's youth stewardship program.

The rain barrel program is only in its third year and already it has become very popular. In its first year, 2007, 467 barrels were sold. Last year, 980 were sold and this year officials hope to sell 1,200. Let's hope the bad economy doesn't affect this great program. A little money spent now will save you money in the long run, right? Plus, the conservation benefits will be reaped for years to come.

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