Declaring this the year to capture free rainwater from one’s roof and to make free “black gold” compost from kitchen scraps and yard waste, the WaterSmart program, through the North and South Rivers Watershed Association (NSRWA), is offering rain barrels and composters for sale.
WaterSmart is a nonprofit partnership between the the NSRWA and 12 towns on the South Shore, including Hull. It is dedicated to educating local school-age children, adults, and businesses on water conservation, storm-water pollution, where water comes from, and how to care for it.
Rain barrels, which hold 60 gallons of water, are manufactured in the United States from a recycled shipping drum. Each barrel comes with overflow fittings, drain plug, screw-on cover, and a threaded spigot with a choice of two ports to use with either a watering can or a garden hose.
“We scheduled our sale so that people could get their rain barrels in time to capture the spring rains,” said Lori Wolfe, the NSRWA’s director of marketing and WaterSmart program manager. “Lawn and garden watering take more water than people realize. When we have drought conditions and the streams are drying up, limiting outdoor watering and using water from a rain barrel can help conserve large amounts of water.
To water a one acre lawn with just 1 inch of water consumes 26,000 gallons of water – or more than a standard 16’x32’ swimming pool,” she continued. “We want people to realize they can have beautiful, healthy yards using techniques that can actually save them time and money and also save our precious water resources.”
According to Suzanne Gebelein, of the Great American Rain Barrel Co., “rain barrels can help homeowners manage rising water costs, save their vegetation from drought conditions, and help communities protect their aquifers. Residents that use a rain barrel collect as much as 1,500 gallons in a season. This will save existing or new landscaping when a dry spell hits and supplement outdoor water usage, which spikes during the growing season. “Rain barrels are also important to reduce runoff. Runoff from homes and developments can harm existing water sources because they flood storm drains and discharge pollutants. Rain barrels are chlorine-free and an excellent source of water for plants and gardens.
Barrels are connected to downspouts and fill quickly. In this region, typically 16 inches of rain falls from May 1 to Sept. 30. For every inch of rainfall a 1,000-square-foot surface can collect 620 gallons of water; that means that an average roof of 2,400 square feet could see more than 20,000 gallons of fresh rainwater splashing over its surface during that time period.
Keeping a small 10-by-10-foot 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 one-fifth-inch of rainfall. … Multiple barrels [can be] linked together for additional collection and storage.”
The Earth Machine’s composter is a cylinder, with a twist-locking, pest-resistant lid, and a locking harvest door. It has been estimated that composters can save families up to 30 percent of their trash bills, by recycling kitchen waste.
The rain barrels, which cost $85, and composters, which cost $70, are currently available for purchase through Wednesday, April 8. They will be available for pickup on Wednesday, April 15, from 3-6 p.m., or thereafter at the NSRWA office, 214 South St., Norwell.
Click here to order rain barrels. Select state (MA) and organization (North and South Rivers Watershed Association).
To order an Earth Machine composter, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 781-367-0626.