Residents learn benefits of using rainwater

Published 12:01 am Friday, February 10, 2012



Some 20 residents participated in a “Make and Take Rain Barrel Workshop” at the Alabama Cooperative Extension office Thursday.

During the two-hour-long program, participants learned about watersheds, nonpoint source pollution, and the importance of water conservation, water harvesting and a brief intro to rain gardens.

Those on hand learned that there are two major problems, “too much water and not enough water,” Rachel Dykes, of the Alabama Cooperative Extension service and presenter, said.

Additionally, Dykes explained the difference between rainwater and stormwater, in that rainwater has an intimate relationship with nature, while storm water has an intimate relationship with manmade structures.

They also learned that rain barrels help because:

• They increase the time needed for stormwater to reach the stream;

• They reduce the volume and velocity of stormwater immediately following a rain;

• They reduce the amount of pollutants that reach the stream by allowing water to seep into the ground and recharge groundwater;

• They help conserve treated water, reducing the amount of water that utilities have to remove from the river and saving money;

• They water plants with rainwater instead of treated water.

“A rain barrel is an easy to make container that saves rainwater for use during a dry period,” Dykes said. “This saves money on water bills and helps protect water resources.”

Rainwater should be used by people, plants and trees and should replenish groundwater with only a small portion making its way to the streams, she said.

Each of the 20 participants constructed a rain barrel for his or her home at the end of the program.

Participant Jack Ammons said he uses the barrels at his home and they work.

“I have several in my yard at home,” he said. “You can get a barrel for about $20, so they are very inexpensive.”

Rain barrels help conserve water, reduce runoff, provide treatment free water for plants and help save money, organizer Janet Wofford with the Alabama Clean Water Partnership said.

“We had a really good crowd,” she said. “We are really pleased.”

For more information about this project, one may contact Wofford at 334-222-3271 or