City Distributes Free Rain Barrels to Conserve Water

Friday, April 22, 2011

crocus early spring flowers crocus (tejvan/flickr)

Once again this spring, the city is offering 1,000 free rain barrels to residents of Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx as part of a program to help reduce the amount of water that flows into the city's sewer system.

Farrell Sklerov, with the Department of Environmental Protection, said the 55-gallon barrels can easily be attached to drainage spouts, and residents can later connect a hose to use that water for their gardening needs.

Steve Frillman, with the gardening group Green Guerillas, said similar systems are used in community gardens throughout the city, and they help divert significant amounts of water.

"To a certain extent we believe that community garden groups doing this, and homeowners doing this, it's a way to start," he said. He noted that the program helps with conservation too.

Frillman also has some other conservation tips like using organic soil to increase absorption and mulch to keep water in your garden from evaporating too quickly.

The rain barrel program is part of the city's green infrastructure initiative. About 400 Brooklyn residents picked up the free barrels this weekend. The next giveaway is next Saturday, April 30, at Cunningham Park in Queens. Bronx and Staten Island residents can pick up their barrels on May 7. There's no distribution in Manhattan.


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Comments [2]

Vincent from Michigan

Great post! Rainwater can be so beneficial to reduce water use. Educating people about water conservation is key.

An important way to conserve water is to just use less. One huge loss of water in a home is the water that goes down the drain because it is the wrong temperature. Waiting for the water to get warm at the tap or shower head costs a family of 4 about 12,000 gallons of wasted H2o annually *as determined by GAMA (Gas Appliance Manufactures Association) - waiting for hot water to reach their faucet!

One very effective way of saving cool water from going down the drain is to introduce a circulating pump into the water system. By installing a circulation system, the water from the 'hot' side of the system that has cooled, is sent to the 'cold' water line and goes back to the hot water tank for re-warming. This not only saves water, but the energy costs heating the water.

The best circulation system on the market that I've seen is available at It is the only circulating pump that doesn't need electricity to run. It can be installed anywhere in the water system, and save hundreds if not thousands of gallons of water, and as an added bonus will help prevent pipes from bursting due to water pipes freezing.

Dec. 21 2011 11:02 PM
SJE from downtown

We love our rain barrel - but we were not able to get the water up the hill w/o help - We found a simple solution for a solar powered pump

Apr. 23 2011 10:26 PM

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