New Barrels Expected to Save 26,000 Gallons of Municipal Water
Shrewsbury, NJ, May 21, 2011 -- Straddling 55-gallon plastic pickle barrels and wielding battery-powered drills, more than a dozen local residents learned first hand how easy (and fun!) it is to catch and harvest rainwater during the Shrewsbury Garden Club's (SGC) first ever "Make a Rain Barrel” workshop, Saturday, May 21 at the Shrewsbury Hose Company, No. 1.
Organized by SGC members Robin Blair and Kathy Davison, the two-hour Rutgers University-based presentation and workshop was designed to give participants everything they needed to build, operate and maintain a customized rain barrel. The workshop was part of the club's newest initiative to increase the number of rain barrels in use in Shrewsbury and the surrounding towns as a way to conserve water, save money and preserve the environment.
"A typical 55-gallon rain barrel can collect and store enough rainwater to save about 1,300 gallons of water during the peak summer months," Robin explained during the short, overview presentation. "That means those of you here today, along with a few local residents who already use rain barrels, could potentially save a combined 26,000 gallons of municipal water this summer."
In addition to conserving water and saving homeowners money, participants learned that rain barrels provide a number of other important benefits. By diverting water from storm drains, rain barrels decrease the impact of pollution and storm water runoff into streams and riverbeds. In addition, reusing rainwater helps decrease the energy taken to treat tap water. And since rainwater does not contain chlorine, lime or calcium, plants usually prefer it to treated water.
Following the presentation, workshop participants moved outside to assemble their rain barrels. The $45 registration fee covered all materials, including a 55-gallon repurposed pickle barrel, screening to guard against insects and debris, a spigot and hook up for overflow. Sharing tools and supplies, group members worked side-by-side, drilling and caulking the industrial sized drums to their own specifications. Some participants even planned to paint theirs when they got them home. Everyone who participated promised to start using their rain barrels right away.