Utah Rivers Council relaunches rain barrel program
July 19, 2016
For the second year in a row, the Utah Rivers Council is hoping Summit County and Park City residents will embrace the RainHarvest program by conserving the water in their own backyards.
When the Utah Rivers Council launched the rain barrel program last summer, it completely sold out in several counties, including Summit. More than 3,000 barrels have been sold so far in Summit County and Park City, according to Nick Schou, conservation director with the Utah Rivers Council.
Utah residents have the highest per-person water usage in the country, Schou said, adding that about 75 percent of water usage occurs outside of the home, which is why Utah has such a high rate. He said rain water is also the "lowest hanging fruit to grab." Participants are instructed to place the barrels underneath the down spout of their roof gutter to catch the runoff.
"It was really clear to us that people here were looking for something they could do on their own to make a difference," Schou said.
Last week, the Utah Rivers Council launched the program and agreed to offer Park City and Summit County residents a limited number of discounted rain barrels.
Approximately 400, 50-gallon barrels are available for purchase by those living within the Park City limits and unincorporated Summit County. The barrels, which usually retail for $129, are available for $50, Schou said. Rain barrels are also available for residents living outside of the participating municipalities for $75.
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The Summit County and Park City Municipal councils recently agreed to allocate $5,000 each to help subsidize the costs of the program. The contribution provides a $25 subsidy per barrel.
Lisa Yoder, Summit County sustainability coordinator, said the County Council views the program as a worthwhile expenditure to further educate people about the consumption of water.
"As we bring awareness to it and help reduce the price, we will get more and more people interested," Yoder said. "Residents want to take on some level of control about their own water use and this allows people to make autonomous decisions."
After the program was introduced, Yoder said she conducted an informal survey of about 10 percent of the participants. Yoder said her survey revealed the program was "very popular and well received."
"All across the board they raved about it and we just want to further encourage everyone to take advantage of this opportunity at a reduction in costs," Yoder said.
The barrels can be pre-ordered online at http://www.savesomethingutah.org and will be available for pickup on Saturday, Aug. 20, between 9 a.m. and noon at Treasure Mountain Middle School.
"Conservation has this notion that you have to do without, but it is really easy. If we can make it simple for people and easy for people to conserve, more will do it," Schou said. "And then less demand on our water helps improve water quality and supply in our river systems. When we hold the water in barrels, less water scours our sidewalks and streets, which means our gutters aren't picking up as many urban pollutants.
"It has been really great to see that it is so popular," he said. "I always try to get to people connected to the eco system and this is a great way to do that. It's simple and helps us lower demand on our water system, which means we are saving more water over time. It also allows the people who are using the barrels to help our community understand the benefits."
Park City and Summit County residents can pick up their rain barrels after they are ordered on Saturday, Aug. 20, between 9 a.m. and noon at Treasure Mountain Middle School, 2530 Kearns Blvd. For more information contact Nick Schou at 801-486-4776 or 801-599-9223.
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