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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Rain Barrels- an idea to consider on Earth Day

It must have been the rain here in Tacoma this morning that made me feel so cozy in bed, not wanting to crawl out. But what could be more perfect than to wake up on Earth Day 2009, planning to write a blog post about rain barrels, and find it raining?

I know that one local guy named Dan Borba woke up happy when he heard the rain. I can just picture him with that grin of his, listening to the gurgle in his down spouts and thinking "YAHOO!" Why? Because when Borba hears that sound it means he's harvesting rain. He's an expert at it, THE guy to talk to if you want to learn about making and using rain barrels to create an off-the-grid source of free water for many uses beyond watering your lawn and flower beds. Some people have even figured out how to access it to flush toilets.

He sells rain barrels at local farmers markets and through his fascinating website for Natural Rain Water. Check the website for interesting and thought provoking articles, instructions on how to build your own, where to locate them and how to install, "gadgets and gizmos" and other information. You can also see photos and read about some ways people in Tacoma benefit from rain barrels. You'll be amazed to learn how much free rain water you've been missing out on if you don't have a rain barrel.

"A 1,200 square foot roof in Tacoma has roughly 27,000 gallons/year falling on it!," Borba says. "With four downspouts, that's about 7,000 gallons/year running through your rain barrel!" If you're curious about the potential rain harvest where you live, check on rainfall statistics by clicking HERE.

"Wait a minute," you're saying. " Aren't you in the Pacific Northwest where it rains all the time?" Sorry folks, but that's just a myth we perpetuate to keep everyone from moving here. The past two days have been unseasonably warm and sunny and sometimes it can get pretty dry here in the summer months. That isn't to say we regularly run short of water, but we can, and Borba sees no reason why this abundant natural resource should be wasted. He has a lot of good reasons for harvesting rain that range from the condition of salmon streams to self sufficiency. But part of the attraction is what he refers to as the "childlike joy" of having his own water system. It's part of Borba's sense of freedom as a human being, and hey, it's just plain fun.

Celebrate Earth Day 2009 by learning more about water conservation and checking out Natural Rain Water. You can meet Dan Borba at the Proctor Farmers Market in north Tacoma's Proctor business district any Saturday spring through fall, or contact him through his website. He'll be happy to answer your questions. Then you too can start smiling more when you wake up to a rainy day.

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