The weather report has us gearing up for more rain this weekend and as I ponder whether or not to get up on the roof and check the gutters, I marvel at just how much precipitation has fallen to the earth this winter. I’m sure if I collected all the water that’s fallen from my roof, I could water my garden throughout the dry months without even needing to open the faucet.
In fact, that’s the focus of the Culver City Rainwater Harvesting Program. If you have a rain barrel collecting the runoff from your roof, you could wash your car, or water the average garden for weeks with the amount of water that could be collected from only a one inch storm. According to Ivan Medel, the watershed program assistant for the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission, a 1,000 square foot roof generates approximately 500-600 gallons of water during a one inch storm. The environmental impact of this runoff is not pretty, as the water from your roof collects pollutants on its way to the storm drain, where it flows directly into the Santa Monica Bay–dirty and untreated.
What’s A Rain Barrel and How Do I Get One?
A rain barrel is a collection and storage device made of industrial strength, food-grade plastic, that can collect up to 55 gallons of water during a storm. Fitted with a mesh screen to keep out bugs and debris, the barrel sits in your yard near a downspout and collects water that can be used for washing, irrigation, or even drinking water in an emergency situation. It contains a hose attachment for easy access to the water, and a flexible vinyl hose acts as an overflow system directing excess water to other areas of your yard.
The Culver City Rainwater Harvesting Program is a joint effort between the City of Culver City and the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission which is conducting a pilot program to place 500 rain barrels in residences and commercial properties throughout Culver City by the end of September 2011. At no cost to the participant, the Commission will deliver and set-up a rainbarrel in your yard or business to capture roof rain water that would normally be lost to storm drains. To be eligible, you need to be located within Culver City, have installed rain gutters with an accessible downspout, and a 2.5 ft by 2.5 ft area to accommodate the placement of the rain barrel.
“The rain barrels are one way to help the environment,” said Medel. “Part of what we hope to accomplish with this program is educating the public about the environmental impact of what we do. Whenever we install a rain barrel, we also offer a consultation letting the recipients know about the other things they can do the improve the greenness of their property, such as planting native plants and removing their grass.”
To get your rain barrel, go to ballonawatershed.org/CCrainwater.html and either submit the online application, or download the forms. For more information about how improving the green factor of your house impacts your home’s value, contact me at [email protected] or call 310-259-7419.