It's a simple idea - catch rainwater and store it to use later. You'll save money on your water bill, make your plants and lawn happy, and help to save the Chesapeake Bay. And Arlington, Fairfax, Alexandria and Falls Church have teamed up to run a regional rain barrel program that makes it easy to participate!
Over the past 4 years, 2300 rain barrels have been installed as part of the program. There are workshops where you can build your own, or you can purchase a pre-made barrel -- register here, but don't delay. The workshops fill up quickly.
The black plastic barrels hold about 50 gallons, are 23 inches wide and 41-44 inches tall. They used to hold pickles, olives, peppers or onions, but have been recycled for this program. When you place a rain barrel under your downspout, it collects water from the roof. There is a fiberglass screen built in that keeps mosquitoes out. And once your barrel is in place, you'll be reaping the benefits right away.
Your lawn and your plants will love the rainwater...it's naturally soft and better for them than municipal water. Better for washing your car, too. Since you'll be using the saved rainwater instead of water from the tap or faucet, your water/sewer bill should be less for the summer.
And rain barrels decrease stormwater runoff, so there's less stream erosion and pollution heading into the Chesapeake Bay. Everybody wins!
Thanks to a grant from Dominion Power, you're going to see artistic rain barrels sprouting up all over Northern Virginia this Spring. After a couple of months on display, they'll be auctioned off in June with proceeds going to support the continuing rain barrel program. Happy Earth Day, everyone.