Drought season increases need
Rain barrels might seem unnecessary during a drought such as the one that has wreaked havoc on farmlands and gardeners this summer, but they can be most helpful during periods of limited precipitation. Rain barrels capture and preserve what little rain water we receive to provide a ready supply of water for your gardens and lawns.
The cost to purchase rain barrels from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) now includes free home delivery. The 55 gallon containers are available for $58 plus tax each for Cook County residents. The rain barrel program is a part of the MWRD's mission to promote water conservation and environmental responsibility, and the addition of home delivery makes it easier for residents to participate.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a rain barrel can save most homeowners about 1,300 gallons of water during peak summer months. Rain barrels can capture and hold a supply of rain water for outdoor use that otherwise would have been diverted to storm drains and sewers.
“Installing a rain barrel is one of the easiest ways to save money on your water bill while conserving water and preventing storm sewers from filing up,” said Commissioner Debra Shore. “It’s a win-win scenario for everyone.”
Rain barrels are especially beneficial for gardeners during periods of drought and infrequent rain. A brief and heavy rainfall can fill up a rain barrel and provide a supplemental (and free) water supply for lawns and gardens, possibly providing enough water to last until the next rain storm.
“Even though it hasn’t rained very much this summer, we really appreciated having it during the storm in June,” said Laura Brauer, a Chicago resident. “We used the water in our garden, so it’s really beneficial for us.”
With nearly three months remaining before it's too cold to store rain water outside, it's not too late to benefit from a rain barrel of your own. Capture and store water for your yard and garden, reduce your water consumption, save money and help the MWRD protect our water environment.
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