In California, using water isn’t always as easy as turning on a faucet and the environmental impact of overuse can deplete resources swiftly and drag sludge from the Pacific.
One simple activity stands to drastically reduce these problems as more people engage in it: Harvesting the rain.
For those interested, there is a free event this Sunday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Santa Monica Airport, called the Rain Barrel & Cistern Sales Event. It is the city of Santa Monica’s Office of Sustainability and the Environment’s (OSE) first annual rainwater harvesting products showcase and sales event. It will feature many leading manufacturers and distributors.
One especially enticing reason to check this out applies to anyone building a new structure or looking to remodel. There is a city ordinance which requires that one out of every three-quarters of an inch of rain water be captured and used.
Shopping for rainwater harvesting materials and shipping them can be costly, considering that most aren’t domestic distributors.
But if one was to go to this event, they could look at their options in front of them, as compared to looking on a computer screen and any purchases would skip any shipping fees, said Kimberly O’Cain, water resource specialists with the city of Santa Monica’s Office of Sustainability and the Environment.
There will be nine venders on hand Sunday, who sell rain barrels and cisterns.
Additionally, O’Cain points out that although the grants that helped fund individuals in the past are no longer available, rebates are now in place that cover the cost of the products and help cover the installation costs.
O’Cain points to additional incentives of keeping the groundwater stocked, protecting the bay from accumulated runoff drudge, and the internal sense of sustainability as benefits of harvesting the rain in Santa Monica.
This rain isn’t for drinking, O’Cain points out. Harvested rain is for irrigating small vegetable gardens, herb gardens, and, if you capture enough, an individual could water their lawn with it.
The practice of harvesting rain is relatively new to Santa Monica. About five years ago, there was a grant program for residents, which many took advantage of. As stated earlier, those grants have been replaced with rebates. Since the grants were implanted late last year, just four people have taken advantage of them. O’Cain hopes the sales event will help muster more interested conversationalists.
Rain barrels are the easiest and least expensive way to get started. Those attending can see examples of how to install the products. If rain barrels aren’t enough, cisterns are the way to go. Holding anywhere from hundreds to thousands of gallons, cisterns will
be on display for the professionals or the more adventurous.
For further details, visit the Office of Sustainability and the Environment Web site at http://www.smgov.net/departments/ose/ or call them at 310.458.2213.