Rain, rain, come again..


For the last few weeks we have had some really drizzly weather, but I can assure you it is not about to rain anytime soon!!  How can I be so sure?   

Well, because we had a rain tank installed yesterday!! 

Along with applying for a free tree from the city council, a couple of months ago we also signed up for a highly rebated  "rain barrel" through DDOE and the RiverSmart Homes Program. 

The District Department of the Environment (DDOE) is responsible for the natural and indoor environments in the District of Columbia (aka Washington DC).  The Department was formed in 2006 – it is a combination of the Dept of Environmental Health Administration and the DC Energy Office and incorporates policy functions of the Tree Management Administration and the Office of Recycling.   

Their programs are designed to facilitate cleaner air and water, "green" neighbourhoods and building space and to assist with the management of hazardous and toxic waste disposal.  They hold community outreach programs where they attempt to increase public awareness of environment and energy related issues. 

A couple of weeks ago a "Rain Barrel Technician"  (seriously!)  from DC Greenworks contacted us to say that they were ready to schedule a time to install our rain barrel. 

Yesterday they arrived and installed it: -   I would call it more of a rain tank or a cistern than a barrel but I'm sure it will be just as successful at capturing the water from our roof no matter what it's called.    As soon as some rain falls!!

For a total cost of $30 ….   the tank will hold 132 gallons (500 litres) of water and will be more than adequate to water our little garden. 

It was hard to get a good picture as the tank is under our deck and it is difficult to get back far enough to fit it in nicely framed.   Those thick chains are an indication of our neighbourhood -  they anchor our bicycle rack under the deck and our outdoor furniture on the deck.    The tank is not crooked – my aim is!: 

Next will be  solar hot water panels -  but we have to wait until they up their rebate program for that one!!

If anyone is interested in more information it can be found at the following sites:

River Smart programs

DC Greenworks – Rain Barrels

DC Success story:  http://www.epa.gov/reg3wapd/nps/pdf/success/dc/DC319SuccessStory2008.pdf

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42 responses

  1. My parents have a rain barrel and I will have to say that my mom's flowers and garden does much better with the rain water than they do with the faucet water. Not to mention the savings in the water bill when the dry weather comes. Now, you just need some rain to catch!

  2. This is such a good idea, putting the rain water to your gardening use. It is about as pure as water can get – in New Orleans, we were told, the gravesites of voodoo queens were marked by many offerings, among them buckets of rain water. The purity of the water, unmarked by man or land, made it a valuable present.
    I saw them myself!

  3. I laugh at them anymore, and loved you using the word cistern a year or so ago they said they came up with this great idea to catch rain water and use it to wash clothing and use to flush the toilet saving treated water it was such a great idea they wondered why no one had thought of it before! DUHHHH! They made people get rid of things like that because they called it unhealthy, fresh water from the tap!But it is such a good idea for you in the city where you can use it and not have to run up your water bill the one person up the road has like 6 barrels of different heights so when one fills up it overflows into the next one but she has more flowers then you probably have land for! but it will be so much nicer for you to water all your lovely plants, and solor powered heater sounds good there also is one that uses your hot water from a shower to pre heat the water going into the hot water heater they are getting smarter

  4. That's great! and wow, it's huge. I just ordered a rain barrel (uh for quite a bit more than $30!!) that holds 50 gallons, and that ought to be enough for my place…if it should decide to rain again, that is– we are getting the same weather as you. Not that I'm complaining but it rained for what, 2 weeks straight not too long ago?! Of course I just threw some seed down and am having to water the lawn now to try to get it to grow (so far no action, not that I can see….)

  5. … while I, on the other hand, knew yesterday that today it would rain. Why? Because I washed the Subaru. That's a cool program. Did you ever find out what that tree is?

  6. I've been thinking of rain tanks, even though we won't get any more rain here till next winter (and, even then, only if we're lucky).I grew up with solar water heaters. I think I'm going to do on-demand water heater and solar energy instead. Though it's all just talk at this point.

  7. So is it protected some how from mosquitoes? I know around here any kind of standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes. I see the opening with that little net but it seems they could still get in there to lay eggs.

  8. This makes so much sense, and it's great that D.C. is offering a huge rebate. (Hmm… I wonder why this isn't standard equipment out here in Rain City. I should look into it for our condominium.)

  9. How supremely cool!! I've heard of these. Congrats, I'm sure it will pay off (although I know what you mean about Murphy's Law LOL)!
    It has been so terribly dry here!

  10. Good question. Yes it has a two-stage filter. The first stage filter, the one you can see in the photo, stops leaves and twigs etc. Then there is a 200 micron mesh filter under that grate which stops mosquitoes and other really fine particles. It is a tighter mesh than stockings.

  11. We initially thought we could get two but for it to work like the people up the hill from you we would've had to dig a deep hole to put one of them in! Yes – in the town where my grandparents lived the council mandated about 30 years that the rain tanks had to be removed – now they realise their mistake! I'm sure all my herbs, peppers and the tomato plant are going to love it!

  12. It would be nice to get a tree for the garden but we don't have enough room. We applied for one to go in the nature strip in front of our house. It went between the sidewalk and the gutter – but we are responsible for keeping it alive!

  13. When the tank is more than half full it will (allegedly) run a sprinkler well. Lower than that level it will be struggling a bit but will still run water through the hose. It is elevated a little to allow for this – normally they would put it on full cinder blocks but there wasn't quite enough height for us to do that.

  14. When you get yours, you will be able to keep your lawn moist! Yes – we've been having the same weather. The next forecast rain for here is Sunday. This afternoon when I was watering my herbs and veggies with the hose and "town" water I was tempted to put some water into the tank just so we could use it! It's frustrating to have something new that we can't use because we don't have the main ingredient in it!

  15. It is a great program though I'm not sure their outreach program is getting the attention it deserves. Yes – the tree is a scarlet Oak – I am looking forward to it getting big enough to shade the front of the house in summers!

  16. haha! I just got notice that Amazon has shipped my mower & rain barrel and if I read it correctly—I might have it tomorrow!!! OMGgardeningstuffs!
    I think my mom said rain here Sunday too. Last I checked the forecast (admittedly a couple days ago) I think it looked pretty darned perfect. So, I guess I'd better get the ol' rain barrel set up if I get it before the weekend. I told my neighbor who mows my lawn I got a reel mower but am requesting one last cut so mine works on the shorter grass. So I guess that will buy time till I get that assembled.

  17. Yeah – you don't get a lot of rain there do you! My grandparents had solar hot water way before it was fashionable. In Sydney I had what they called off-peak hot water which only heats up in the middle of the night when electric rates are cheapest (less demand). The problem with that was that once the hot water was all used there was no more until the next morning! Solar energy is probably a little way off paying for itself yet.

  18. There are so many good programs out there – I'm not sure that they "advertise" or get their outreach programs out into the general community. We found both the tree program and the rain barrels by accident – though admittedly we were looking for such things.

  19. Very little rain here. We installed our solar water heater in the late 70s – my parents were so progressive. To its credit, we never ran out of hot water, regardless of the weather.

  20. That's excellent Emjay – I'd love a grey water tank, but most of them in this country are dug into the ground and there'd be no getting a digger around the back of my house!I really think that all new-builds ought to have them – they have a bio-filter attached and the water can be used to flush the loo, fill the washing machine and all sorts of other uses.

  21. Hope you eventually get the solar panels. Definitely the way of the future.Two of my neighbours are completely self sufficient with 20 x 70 watt panels.We are still waiting to be able to afford more than the 7 panels we now have.

  22. That's pretty cool program. we now have government rebates for retrofitting insulation and solar hot water federally, and a whole range of things at a state level. I want a water tank – only way to keep grass alive nowadays!

  23. Wow – I am so behind in replying!! It's amazing to think that councils in many places made people take their water tanks out and 20 years later are encouraging people to put them back! My brother has a huge underground one which has a leak in it – now that is difficult to fix!

  24. It is wonderful that more initiatives are being offered to people to do the "green" thing. We are now looking into the programs available for solar hot water and solar power – they are expensive to install though and the rebates are not that great yet. I totally agree with you re the cars. Americans love their big cars. I was very happy to see so many "smart" cars in Europe – that's what we should all be driving!

  25. We have found that the rebate initiatives for help in paying for the panels are not as great as we would like though there is a Federal tax credit if you have them. Currently we are looking into a "green" roof. No one could accuse us of not trying …..

  26. I think all these programs are wonderful. I hope you get your tank. I'm just sorry we couldn't get two – but they are gravity feed and we didn't have enough height/space for a second one. I am not going to feel guilty about leaving the hose on now!

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