This week’s blog post was written by Cecile Riker, WCO Intern
Barrels have many uses in today’s day and age. Whether it’s storing whiskey for years as it ages to tasting perfection, holding feed for your farm animals, or harboring a handful of plastic monkeys, here at the Athens-Clarke County Water Conservation Office, we believe the most significant use of this seemingly boring container is to collect Earth’s most precious resource; water. Rainwater, more specifically.
People have been collecting rainwater since ancient times (850 BC), according to the Rainwater Harvesting Guide. Humans have always needed water, and although we all may not care where it comes from or how we get it, we know that it is vital to our survival. Rainwater collection systems have varied in size and magnitude throughout history- ranging from underground cisterns carved out of solid rock, to aqueducts, to a plastic barrel in your own backyard. Both small households and entire communities can benefit from this type of collection.
On the local scale, installing a rain barrel at your home can save money as well as promote water conservation by reducing the need for tap water and decreasing the draw from a city’s water supply. “Soft” rainwater is also healthier for your plants than tap water – the process of softening “hard” tap water may contribute to salt accumulation in soil. Although the timing, amount and length of a rain are relatively unpredictable, barrels hold up to 80 gallons of rainwater and can be attached to a hose for easy access.
Now- I know what you’re thinking. “That’s a pretty ugly barrel- I wouldn’t want to put that in my yard! It’s an eyesore!” Lucky for you, the ACC Water Conservation Office puts on an event each year called Roll Out the Barrels. In its fourth year, this event invites local artists to make beautiful, functional works of art out of rain barrels that are silently auctioned off at the Lyndon House Arts Center. Whether you prefer a calming nature scene or a PBR can replica, there is a barrel for you to bid on!
Roll Out the Barrels 2014 is this Friday night, May 16th, from 5:30 to 7:30PM. If you would like to preview the barrels, they are currently on display at the Lyndon House (or you can check Lily Anne Phibian’s Facebook page for pictures!). All proceeds will go to the ACC Green School Program, which supports environmental education efforts in Athens-Clarke County. Bring your check book, a blanket, and some friends and find the newest artistic addition to your backyard. We look forward to seeing you on Friday evening!
Click here to visit the Roll Out the Barrels Website for more details, a list of artists, and pictures from past years.