Rain barrels help conserve water

Central Okanagan residents can buy a rain barrel April 22 at Earth Day sale

When it rains, do you ever think about how you could save that water for a drier day?

Consider that for every inch of rain that falls on a 1,000-square-foot roof, you could gather about 600 gallons of water.

Rain water is better for your plants and soil, a private water source in times of drought or watering restrictions and helps reduce runoff pollution.

That is why the Okanagan Basin Water Board and the Regional District of Central Okanagan water reduction program will join forces again this year to offer up to 125 rain barrels.

The rain barrels along with 350 compost bins will be available for sale to local residents on Earth Day, April 22, at the Okanagan College campus parking lot.

Related: Rain barrel mosquito control programs underway

The rain barrels will be priced at $80 each, sold on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Rae Stewart, regional waste reduction facilitator, said water management is not the direct mandate of RDCO, but she felt rain barrels and composters fall under the same recycling lifestyle.

“We thought it would be a happy partnership. Water recycling is not our bailiwick but it does kind of go hand in hand with the idea behind composting, to help our environment,” Stewart said.

For rain barrels, they help reduce water pollution by decreasing the amount of stormwater runoff reaching our streams and rivers.

The reduce the environmental footprint of water running off your property in the same way composting helps reduce garbage otherwise bound for landfills while serving as a great soil enhancer for growing plants, veggies and shrubs.

Compost is also a favourite hiding spot for rats, but Stewart notes there are steps that can be taken to discourage the venomous rodents.

“Rats like to burrow into compost because it offers a source of heat and cover from winter and source of food. But there are steps you can take to prevent that from happening,” she said, such as installing a wire mesh cover to cut off access to the potential cover from cold winter temperatures.

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