NEWBURYPORT — The City of Newburyport has partnered with the Great American Rain Barrel Company in Hyde Park to offer recycled barrels to residents as part of a community wide water conservation program.
“We are excited to again be offering this simple and inexpensive device to residents to bring down their water costs and help our community protect their aquifers,” says Molly Ettenborough, Recycling and Energy Coordinator for Newburyport. “Like the recycling bin, we hope rain barrels become a standard in each and every home.”
Water shortage is a growing global concern. In New England residential water usage can increase as much as 60% during the spring, summer and fall seasons from outdoor watering needs such as watering gardens, lawns, filling pools and, washing cars. Barrels can offset that usage; saving homeowner’s money and helping the community manage water supplies. Rain barrels can also reduce runoff. In watershed areas, runoff from homes and developments can harm existing water sources because overtaxed storm sewers discharge polluted runoff. Over time this takes a toll on the fragile aquatic ecosystem that the area is dependant on.
Suzanne Gebelein, Owner of the Great American Rain Barrel Company comments, “We have been selling barrels for 20 years and we are seeing a very positive trend. More and more communities nationwide, like Newburyport, are bringing large scale programs to their towns, encouraging more residents to conserve water but also helping their town mitigate pollution in the water supplies on a larger scale.”
Homeowners can easily connect the barrels to their downspouts and significantly offset their watering needs. In this region there is typically 16” of rain from May 1 – Sept. 30. For every inch of rainfall a 1,000 square foot surface can collect 620 gallons of water, that means that over the course of the extended summer months an average roof of 2400 square feet could see more than 20,000 gallons of fresh rainwater passing over its surface from May through September. That is a pretty significant source of water that homeowners could be tapping into for free. Just keeping a small 10’ x 10’ garden irrigated during the summer months can mean using up to 1,700 gallons of water. Based on the average roof size, more than two 60 gallon rain barrels would fill for every 1/10” of rainfall. The Great American Rain Barrel Company recommends one barrel for every 100 square feet garden.