CITY OF EVANSVILLE'S RAIN BARREL PROGRAM
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Rain Barrel Information and Dates
In the City of Evansville's efforts to promote the Sustainability Policy for the residents of the City we are currently promoting the use of rain barrels as a water quality effort for the City of Evansville. The following is a list of benefits that can be obtained by the use of a rain barrel at your home:
You might not think that much water would be available to a property owner even during a large storm, but one inch of rain on 1,000 square feet of rooftop creates over 600 gallons of stormwater. Lawn and garden watering can make up to 50% of our water use during the summer months. Here in Evansville , most of us water our lawns with tap water which is drawn from the Ohio River and then treated with chemicals prior to being pumped to our homes.
A rain barrel can potentially save each homeowner up to 1,300 gallons during the peak summer months. Not only is this a savings to each rain barrel user, but the reduction in the demand on the available supply of potable water is reduced, potentially lowering the thresholds at which Lexington would have to declare water restrictions.
Foundation Wall Protection
During extended dry periods, homeowners with basements must water around their foundations to keep them from suffering from the damaging effects. A rain barrel with a soaker hose attachment is a perfect way to harvest the rain water and use it to provide the necessary moisture around a home foundation to prevent damage.
Natural Water Source
The pH level of rain water is lower than potable water. This allows plants in the soil to better utilize the nutrients in the ground. It also does not contain the chemicals added to make the water safe to drink and it is “soft” water, making it ideal for watering of plants and gardens.
Reduction in the Potential for Flooded Basements
Flooding problems in basements and crawl spaces can be due to the ground adjacent to the home sloping towards the foundation and from downspouts and sump pumps that are not properly directing water away from the home, all of which can allow rain water to flow back towards the foundation and seep in along the foundation walls. A rain barrel with a soaker hose will slowly release this water so that it will not cause ground water problems along the foundation. This will actually help reduce water getting into a basement, will reduce basement flooding, and will improve the long-term integrity of the foundation.
Large detention basins and retention ponds are used to control runoff from developed land. Rain barrels and rain gardens are miniature versions of these larger engineered flood control devices - they retain water for a short period of time and slowly release it to reduce downstream flooding impacts.
An average rain barrel is designed to hold 55 gallons of water. That water can either be slowly released through a soaker hose or drained via a faucet for other watering needs. For an “average” home with a roof of 1,500 square feet, one rain barrel per downspout would hold the daily rainfall of over half of the rainfall events Evansville receives. By keeping this water onsite, this means that there is this much less water that the City of Evansville storm drain system must handle during storm events.
There are three mechanisms by which a rain barrel will decrease water pollution and improve water quality:
As water flows out of the downspouts and across the lawn and driveways, it will pick up grass clippings, lawn chemicals, animal wastes, and automotive chemicals. While these chemicals do get into the storm drainage system by the action of rain water directly on lawns and driveways, downspouts can make this problem worse by providing more water and velocities to flush these pollutants into the drainage system. Rain barrels “disconnect” the direct connect between the downspouts and the drainage system - to slow down the water and let it soak in to the ground.
Small storms do most of the damage to stream systems due to the erosive forces on the streambanks. All of this eroded material can fill ponds and reservoirs - requiring expensive dredging. Using rain barrels reduces the volume of these flows which reduces erosion.
Urban streams dry out quickly in the summer months. Rain water which fell during the wet spring and early summer is converted into runoff and sent downstream - not converted into groundwater. Low stream flows (and dry streams) result in stagnant pools that breed mosquitoes, increase the water temperature and decreases dissolved oxygen levels in the stream. Rain barrels can recharge groundwater which then slowly migrates through the ground and eventually discharges cool, clean water to the streams during the summer months to keep the streams alive and healthy.
Reducing our Carbon Footprint
Rain barrels, rain gardens and similar practices that conserve water and slowly release it back into our environment help cool our cities and reduce temperature differences. This reduces cooling requirements and energy consumption (and the CO2 footprint) of our City.
For Centuries people have been collecting and using rainwater. Today, with the increase in regulations regarding storm water runoff it is becoming even more important to the communities to find creative ways to use our water resources more wisely. Rain Barrels are one of the ways that the storm water from your roof tops can be collected and used for irrigation purposes.
The City of Evansville's Storm Water Management program is sponsoring a Great Program in partnership with Coca Cola to decorate and auction off rainbarrels. Below is the information for the program.
Environmental “Fun-d” Raising Opportunity
The City Engineer’s Storm Water Management Program is excited to announce a fun and unique partnership to beautify our city, improve water quality and conserve resources! Coca Cola is donating 55 gallon plastic drums which will be converted into Rain Barrels. Rain Barrels collect and store rainwater, which can be stored for later use to irrigate gardens and lawns.
Here comes the “fun” part: the Rain Barrels will be provided at NO COST to residents, groups, students, and families/children of all ages or organizations, which will then paint & decorate them. The beautified Rain Barrels will be displayed at public locations and sold at a special Earth Day Auction at Mesker Park Zoo and Botanic Garden. The group decorating the Rain Barrel will receive all the proceeds from the auction!
This is an opportunity to promote environmental awareness, water conservation and storm water pollution prevention while having fun and raising money!