San Diego County residents qualify for free or reduced-cost rain barrels!
Why Rain Barrels?
You already know that we are in the midst of a devastating drought. Even though we had snowfall in the Sierras in 2017, we do not have a surplus of water. Farming activities in the 20th century have dried up our natural water tables. Today, we use so much water from the Colorado River, that it dries up 90 miles before it’s supposed to drain to the Pacific Ocean…! It also takes large amounts of energy to produce potable water. So, we need to conserve water whenever possible.
One way to conserve water is through rainwater harvesting. The rain that falls on our roofs usually winds up in our storm drains, and then out, untreated, to the ocean. But it doesn’t have to! We can capture that rainwater in a rain barrel. Then we can use it to water our lawns during a dry period. Rainwater harvesting doesn’t just save water. It also prevents pollution, by reducing the amount of runoff entering our storm drain system.
How much rainwater can you harvest? The rule of thumb is that for every inch of rain that falls, for every 1,000 square feet of roof surface, you can capture 625 gallons of water.
How Do I Qualify for Rebates for Rain Barrels?
San Diego County homeowners can qualify for free or reduced-cost rain barrels through several programs.
If you are a City of San Diego water utility customer, the Residential Rainwater Harvesting Rebate Pilot Program provides up to $400 in rebates.
If you live within San Diego County, but outside of City limits, go to the SoCal WaterSmart website to apply for the rebate. They also provide rain barrel guidelines and tips on maintenance.
Solana Center and WaterSmart currently have a sale of $129 rain barrels for only $55. They will sell you a rain barrel for the discounted price of $90, and then you are eligible for a $35 rebate, so your final cost is only $55. For more information, go to the Solana Center website.
What Else Can I Do to Conserve Water?
On average, 40% of a household’s water consumption is on watering landscaping. The best thing you can do to conserve water and protect our watershed, is to install native plants. This is how we can reduce water use, restore our natural habitat, and improve our water quality.
Native gardens invite butterflies and birds to your property, and can provide a beautiful landscape of flowers all year long. Native gardens are extremely low maintenance – native gardens don’t need any pesticides, and you won’t need to pay for polluting “mow and blow” service. Native plants have also been shown to protect homes from wildfires.
If you want to learn more about water-wise landscaping, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California offers free California Friendly Landscape classes online. The San Diego County Water Authority also offers free California Friendly Landscape Training classes throughout San Diego County.
As always, contact me if you have any questions.