What better way to save water than putting in a rain barrel—and thanks to these cities, you’ll save money, too!
While two states (Utah and Colorado) are limiting residents' rights to harvest rainwater from their own rooftops, cities across the country are finding the benefit in rainwater use, encouraging residents to collect it and put it to work. Incentives range from free rain barrels to tax credits and reimbursement for rainwater-diversion installments, such as rain barrels, rain gardens and cisterns.
"When coupled with an educational program, rain barrels are a fantastic education and outreach program to engage citizens in storm- water issues,” says Mike Ruck, vice president of the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association and cofounder and Chief Water Officer of rainwater-harvesting-system installer Rain Water Solutions in Raleigh, N.C. "Storm water is the leading cause of water pollution in the U.S., and getting people involved in a house-by-house approach can yield very positive results. Not to mention, rainwater is great for irrigation—no ammonia, fluoride, chlorine, et cetera.”
Here are five communities that know what's up (the rain) and are down (in a rain barrel) with putting it to work.
1. Montgomery County, Md.
The county-wide RainScapes Program has designated RainScapes Neighborhoods, which are identified as needing more intensive storm-water management. In these areas, the county is working directly with property owners to install greenroofs, permeable pavement, rain gardens, and rain barrels and cisterns. These projects help slow rainwater runoff, so the water soaks into your lawn or garden instead of going down the sewer and into our streams.
Montgomery County RainScapes Neighborhoods include Glen Echo Heights, Wheaton Woods, KenGar, Stoneybrook/Parkside, Chevy Chase, Breewood, Forest Estates, Garrett Park and Sligo Park Hills. If you own property in one of these areas, you still qualify for rebates of up to $2,500 for rain barrel and other storm-water-management installations. The Montgomery County towns of Gaithersburg and Rockville have individual programs for them, too.