Did you know that beer is 95% water? We have united water conservation, breweries, art, and the Viva Farms Farm to School program altogether to create the Skagit Farm to Pint Roadshow Rain Barrel Project!
Skagit PUD Donates Rain Barrels
Skagit PUD has donated and delivered the rain barrels to participating breweries, artists are painting the rain barrels, and Viva Farms will be delivering to local school gardens after the Roadshow. The painted rain barrels will be on display all together on a Facebook photo album for you to vote for your favorite.
Collecting rainwater is an easy way to conserve water — and save money on your water bill. During the drier season, when water consumption often doubles, using collected rainwater also reduces the strain on the water supply and keeps more water available for fish and wildlife.
Rainwater is also naturally “soft” and free of minerals and chemicals, making it ideal for plants and lawns. Using a rain barrel to collect rainwater also helps reduce stormwater runoff that might otherwise run down storm drains and into our streams, rivers, lakes, and bays. Stormwater runoff can cause flooding, erosion and carry pollutants into our waterways.
Purchasing a Rain Barrel
Skagit PUD sells rain barrels for $60/each that come fully assembled and ready for installation. These are recycled 55-gallon, food-grade plastic barrels. Barrels are not in “perfect” condition and may have a scuff or blemish. Barrels vary in shape and color.
Each rain barrel includes a 3/4 inch spigot, overflow valve, 4-5 inch diameter drain grate, mesh insect/debris screen, and a downspout adapter. Please call (360) 424-7104 to ensure availability. Cash or checks only.
Rain Barrel Math
How much water runs off your roof? To do the calculation, use this formula: .623 gallons per sq ft per inch of rain x Roof sq ft x Inches rain per year.
So, if your roof is 1,000 sq ft and you live in Mount Vernon, which gets 32.7 inches per year, you could expect 20,372 gallons of water running off your roof per year! (.623 gals x 1,000 sq ft x 32.7 inches rain = 20,372 gallons)
During the dry months, May – September, when most people think about gardening outside, you still could potentially collect 5,365 gallons of rainwater off your roof.
Rain Barrels and Rain Gardens Work Together
A wonderful way to complement a rain barrel and increase your property’s ability to absorb runoff is through a rain garden. Rain gardens can be a fun and easy way to learn about beautiful native plants, improve water quality, and reduce flooding.
Rain gardens typically absorb 30% more water than the same size area of lawn; they are drought resistant and are less prone to destructive insects and diseases. Rain gardens create a preferred habitat for birds, butterflies, and dragonflies. These specialty gardens are versatile — they can be any size or shape, but to maximize their benefit, they should be built in an existing low spot or near a rain barrel’s drainage area.
A great resource guide is the Rain Garden Handbook for Western Washington Homeowners. Print copies are available by contacting the Skagit Conservation District at (360) 428-4313.