water conservation

Aquarion Rain Barrel Program Reduces Water Bills and Toll on Environment

Customers can take home a rain barrel to collect water for lawns and gardens.

NBC Universal, Inc.

A Connecticut water supply company is showing commitment to protecting the environment through a not-for-profit rain collection program.

Each year, Aquarion Water Company runs the campaign. Customers across the state can take home a barrel to help conserve water and reduce bills.

With one of the barrels loaded up in the back of the car, there is no need to wish the rain away for Aquarion customers.

“I think every little bit helps,” Emily Hart, a Simsbury resident picking up barrels, said.

“We've got to try to conserve it as best we can, all the time,” Mike Esposito, another Aquarion customer, said.

That is what the rain barrel campaign aims to do.

“It's a natural resource, one that's limited and scarce in many parts of the world. And it's important that everybody does their part in terms of conserving water,” George Logan, Aquarion Water Company director of community relations, said.

The public water supply company has been selling the barrels for rain collection to customers for about a decade. People can sign up online to buy a 60-gallon upcycled barrel for $75 dollars apiece, then set it up at home to gather rainwater for lawns and gardens.

“Folks can just put this out in their backyard, it will collect water on its own. Also some folks connect it to the downspouts on the side of the house from the gutters,” Logan said. “Other folks have connected these rain barrels in series, so you could put one rain barrel connected to another.”

Aquarion runs the program at-cost, without making a profit. Each year, just like the water collected in the barrels, demand is increasing.

“This year alone, we've sold over 700 rain barrels, which is three times the amount that we sold last year alone,” Logan said.

All of those households conserving water adds up.

“To give you an idea, a 1,000 square-foot roof, a quarter inch of rain will be over 600 gallons of water. So there's a lot of water that comes off of every roof,” Sharon England, owner of Sky Juice Rain Barrels, said.

Even the barrels themselves are a story of recycling and reusing.

“All of these come from Greece,” England said. “They had green peppers, olives, olive oil in them. And we repurpose them, we clean them and make them into rain barrels.”

Sky Juice Rain Barrels provides the drums, made durable to stand the test of time.

“I’m still using my original barrel from 2000,” England said.

Customers going through the pickup line have different plans for the water saved.

“We have a little garden and we think it's going to come in hand,” Esposito said.

“I have ducks and chickens, and I might use it to give them water to drink,” Hart said.

The program aims to not only reduce bills, but also the toll of water use on the environment.

“People want to be a part of the solution,” Logan said. “When we take a look at climate change and all the effects that it's having on our lives, this is one simple way to help out in the cause and conserve water.”

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