continued Why are rain barrels important?
OEI has budgeted $12,000 and $29,000 for the Park Hill and Franklin Park neighborhoods’ rain barrel programs respectively, most of which will be spent on education and outreach. Michalenko said that OEI plans to hold meetings for residents of those neighborhoods to inform people of the rainwater problems the town is facing and to educate them on what they can do to help. Additionally, all attendees will be provided with free rain barrels.
“My goal is to saturate these neighborhoods with rain barrels,” Michalenko said. “If one house puts up two rain barrels, they hold back 200 gallons of water and that’s a miniscule effect on the watershed. But if 500 houses do it, that’s 100,000 gallons of water and a direct benefit there. The more homes that take advantage of the rain barrel program, the more effective it will be.”
People can use rain barrels for a variety of purposes. Some use them to water their flowers or lawn, some use them to wash their cars and others use the water for their birdbaths. Others just empty them onto their driveways once they’re full of water.
And rain barrels can significantly lower water costs. According to the West Virginia Conservation Agency, a rain barrel can save approximately 1,300 gallons of water during the peak summer months.
Michalenko said homeowners can also run their gutters away from their basements and can plant trees as other ways to prevent flooding.
“Trees bring water into the air. One large weeping willow tree can move 200,000 gallons of water each day into the air from the ground – people don’t realize the power of trees,” he said.”
What to expect at the workshops
The town will hold its next rain barrel workshop from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on May 17 in the DeWitt Community Room. Khris Dodson, the associate director for the Syracuse Center of Excellence is one of the people responsible for organizing the workshop. He said the main goal is to not only educate people as to why rain barrels are important – he’ll also be teaching residents how to install and maintain their rain barrels.