Sunday, June 2, 2013
Rain, rain, go away–unless I’ve got a rainbarrel!
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Our family lives in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, a watershed that has a 16 to 1 ratio of land to water (a watershed is an area in which all water (rain, snowmelt, etc.) runs into the same stream or river). That means that what we do on the land in this area has a HUGE effect on the ecosystems of the Chesapeake Bay. One of the things that greatly affects the Chesapeake Bay is stormwater (the water that runs off the land after a rain). While agricultural land is the source that still contributes the greatest amount of pollutants to the Chesapeake Bay, developed land (land with houses and other buildings) is the fastest growing source of pollutant runoff in the watershed. In order to reduce the runoff to the Chesapeake Bay (or your local waterway), we are often encouraged to use rainbarrels (to trap rainwater and then use it in our gardens during dry periods) or rain gardens (which allow rainwater to slowly filter through the ground, rather than rushing over hard surfaces like roads and roofs into the sewer system).
A little rusty on the concepts surrounding stormwater runoff? Check out this short video from the Chesapeake Bay Program:
This month, our family tried our first rainbarrel and it was a big success! During our first thunderstorm, the rainbarrel filled in less than 30 minutes (way less). We then used the water in a drip-irrigation system in our garden when things got hot and dry this week. Very efficient! We hope to install several more rainbarrels, so that we can take full advantage of every rainstorm! If you’d like to learn more about rainbarrels, here’s another quick video from the Chesapeake Bay Program.