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Week 24: #Waves4Change 2020 Sustainability Challenge: Conserve Water with Rain Barrels

What Is A Rain Barrel?

A rain barrel is a container that is connected to your house downspouts in order to collect rainwater running off the house. The water travels down the downspout and gets stored in the container for future use. Rain barrels can be purchased from your local hardware store or made from scratch. Many City’s offer rain barrel programs as well where they will provide rain barrels for use if you are a resident.


Why Take This Challenge?

Rain barrels do more than collect water for personal use, they help prevent the pollution of our local rivers and streams. Stormwater runoff typically collects pollutants as it runs off our house, through the streets and into the storm drains. These storm drains then transport the water to our local waterways. Taking this challenge eliminates the amount of stormwater runoff that is being dumped into these waterways.


How Does the Challenge Benefit Me?

This challenge not only affects the environment you live in, it also provides you financial gains. By collecting your own water, you now have a large supply of water for gardening and watering your lawn. If you do this regularly already but use your normal hose, then taking this challenge will help reduce your water usage and lower your water bill. Additionally, if you are a customer of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, they offer credits towards your sewer bill if you have an on-site stormwater storage container in use. Check out their website at to see qualifications and available discounts.

This also benefits you if you enjoy the outdoors. There is nothing I love more than taking my dogs to the Metroparks to walk through the shallow parts of the Rocky River. Therefore, it is important that we keep that river and many other rivers safe and clean.

Take this challenge with your kids! Teach them about the importance of protecting our local waterways while also getting creative with the project and painting your own rain barrel. My neighbors own chickens, so they made the fun chicken rain barrel shown in the picture above. If you already own a rain barrel, then share the news of the available discounts and additional benefits with your neighbors to get them on board!