Utah drought crisis: Rain barrels could help save water this summer


Cities across the Wasatch Front are offering discounted rain barrels to incentivize water conservation and recycling, the Utah Rivers Commission announced Tuesday.

The 50-gallon bucket collects runoff from roofs and gutters, which can then be used to water lawns and gardens. They are being sold as part of the ongoing RainHarvest Utah Project, a partnership between the Utah Rivers Commission and 11 cities and counties.

“When we started the program seven years ago, (we found) it taught people what it means to conserve water and how much water we actually use,” Utah Rivers Commission executive director Zach Frankel said in a virtual news conference Tuesday. “Because when you collect 50 gallons … and then use it in your landscape, you realize how much water we as homeowners use outdoors every day.”

Frankel said the program has helped Utah save millions of gallons of water since it was launched, and continued use of buckets can reduce water needs by 10 to 20 percent. While this doesn’t fully solve the problem, every bit counts, especially as Utah faces its worst drought in 1,200 years.

“We have to realise that the scale is really daunting…but we have to realise that we can do something and we can’t be paralyzed,” said Todd Munger, director of sustainability and recovery at Lehi.

He called the program a “great opportunity” to help city dwellers get involved “at the grassroots level” to help save water.


Runoff water flows down Little Aspen Creek from the Wasatch Mountains in Little Aspen Canyon, Tuesday, March 15, 2022.

Scott G Winterton, Desert News

Samantha DeSeelhorst, associate planner and sustainability analyst at Cottonwood Heights, said water conservation was a “complex and interconnected puzzle”, but the plan was an important investment in a straightforward “bottom-up” approach.

Lisa Hoffman, assistant general manager of Summit County Mountain Water Resources, said the rain barrels provide “a tangible, hands-on experience” that can serve as a physical lesson to help children and families understand the need for conservation.

“I think getting kids involved in water conservation and water resources at such a young age is a great lesson and … helps them be the future stewards of this really valuable resource,” Hoffman said. By.”

As of April 24, residents of participating cities can order rain barrels for a subsidized price of $55, about $143 below the retail price, according to Frankel. Residents outside the participating range can still order barrels, but at a higher price of $83.

The barrels will be available for pickup at a handful of locations in early May.

Below is the full list of participating cities:

  • Salt Lake County
  • mill creek
  • cottonwood heights
  • Murray
  • Taylorsville
  • Herriman
  • Li Hai
  • orem
  • park city
  • Summit County
  • Mountain Water Clients

A 50-gallon ivy rain barrel that recycles runoff rainwater for lawn and garden watering. Some Utah residents can purchase discounted barrels through April 24.

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