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1 NW Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Civic Center Complex, Room 321
Evansville, IN 47708
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  • Phone:  (812) 436-4990
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Rain Barrel Program

In the City of Evansville's efforts to promote the Sustainability Policy for the residents of the City, we promote the use of rain barrels as a water quality effort.

Rain barrels collect and store rainwater, which can be stored for later use to irrigate gardens and lawns. Using a rain barrel at your home provides many benefits.

Water Barrels

HOMEOWNER BENEFITS

  • Monetary Savings

Freeman Family Rain BarrelJust one inch of rain on 1,000 square feet of rooftop creates more than 600 gallons of stormwater. Lawn and garden watering can make up to 50% of our water use during the summer months. Here in Evansville, most of us water our lawns with tap water, which is drawn from the Ohio River and then treated with chemicals prior to being pumped to our homes.

A rain barrel can potentially save each homeowner up to 1,300 gallons during the peak summer months.

  • It's Better for Your Plants - a Natural Water Source

The pH level of rain water is lower than potable water. This allows plants in the soil to better utilize the nutrients in the ground. It also does not contain the chemicals added to make the water safe to drink and it is “soft” water, making it ideal for watering of plants and gardens.

  • Reduces the Potential for Flooded Basements

Flooding problems in basements and crawl spaces can be due to the ground adjacent to the home sloping towards the foundation and from downspouts and sump pumps that are not properly directing water away from the home, all of which can allow rain water to flow back towards the foundation and seep in along the foundation walls. A rain barrel with a soaker hose will slowly release this water so that it will not cause ground water problems along the foundation. This will actually help reduce water getting into a basement, will reduce basement flooding, and will improve the long-term integrity of the foundation.

  • Foundation Wall Protection

During extended dry periods, homeowners with basements must water around their foundations to keep them from suffering from the damaging effects. A rain barrel with a soaker hose attachment is a perfect way to harvest the rain water and use it to provide the necessary moisture around a home foundation to prevent damage.

COMMUNITY BENEFITS

  • Reduces Amount of Water in Storm Water System

Sean Davis BarrelLarge detention basins and retention ponds are used to control runoff from developed land. Rain barrels and rain gardens are miniature versions of these larger engineered flood control devices - they retain water for a short period of time and slowly release it to reduce downstream flooding impacts.

An average rain barrel is designed to hold 55 gallons of water. That water can either be slowly released through a soaker hose or drained via a faucet for other watering needs. For an “average” home with a roof of 1,500 square feet, one rain barrel per downspout would hold the daily rainfall of over half of the rainfall events Evansville receives. By keeping this water onsite, this means that there is this much less water that the City of Evansville storm drain system must handle during storm events.

  • Reduces Pollution

A rain barrel reduces water pollution and improves water quality 3 ways:

    • Direct Runoff

As water flows out of the downspouts and across the lawn and driveways, it will pick up grass clippings, lawn chemicals, animal wastes, and automotive chemicals. While these chemicals do get into the storm drainage system by the action of rain water directly on lawns and driveways, downspouts can make this problem worse by providing more water and velocities to flush these pollutants into the drainage system. Rain barrels “disconnect” the direct connect between the downspouts and the drainage system - to slow down the water and let it soak in to the ground.

    • Streambank Erosion

Small storms do most of the damage to stream systems due to the erosive forces on the streambanks. All of this eroded material can fill ponds and reservoirs - requiring expensive dredging. Using rain barrels reduces the volume of these flows which reduces erosion.

    • Groundwater Recharge

Urban streams dry out quickly in the summer months. Rain water which fell during the wet spring and early summer is converted into runoff and sent downstream - not converted into groundwater. Low stream flows (and dry streams) result in stagnant pools that breed mosquitoes, increase the water temperature and decreases dissolved oxygen levels in the stream. Rain barrels can recharge groundwater which then slowly migrates through the ground and eventually discharges cool, clean water to the streams during the summer months to keep the streams alive and healthy.

  • Reduces our Carbon Footprint

Rain barrels, rain gardens and similar practices that conserve water and slowly release it back into our environment help cool our cities and reduce temperature differences. This reduces cooling requirements and energy consumption (and the CO2 footprint) of our City.
For Centuries people have been collecting and using rainwater. Today, with the increase in regulations regarding storm water runoff it is becoming even more important to the communities to find creative ways to use our water resources more wisely. Rain Barrels are one of the ways that the storm water from your roof tops can be collected and used for irrigation purposes.

ENVIRONMENTAL 'FUN-D' RAISING OPPORTUNITY

Stiletto and Short Families Rain BarrelThe City of Evansville's Storm Water Management program is sponsoring a great program in partnership with Coca-Cola to decorate and auction off rain barrels.

It's a fun and unique partnership to beautify our city, improve water quality, and conserve resources! Coca-Cola donates 55-gallon plastic drums each year that are converted into rain barrels.

Here comes the “fun” part:

The rain barrels are provided FREE to residents and artists in the Arts District, which are then painted and decorated. The beautified rain barrels are displayed at the Civic Center and offered for silent auction. All proceeds from the auction are donated to a designated non-profit organization or charity.

This promotes environmental awareness, water conservation, and storm water pollution prevention while having fun and raising money!

Questions? Call Karan Barnhill, Storm Water Coordinator at 812-436-4977 or send an e-mail. 

MORE TO COME....STAY TUNED FOR MORE INFORMATION AND FUTURE RAIN BARREL PROGRAMS.