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Discounted Rain Barrels Offered to Help Utahns Conserve Water

Warren Hanratty via Creative Commons

Several dry winters have prompted two local governments to offer tools to help Utahns save water.

An environmental group has partnered with Salt Lake County and Murray City to offer $129 rain barrels to residents for a steeply discounted $40. Barrels are $69 for everyone else.   

Zach Frankel is executive director of Utah Rivers Council. He says Utahns use more water per person than residents of any other state according to the U.S. Geological Survey. And more household water goes to lawns and gardens than for indoor uses.

“Everybody in Utah has stories of seeing sprinklers watering while it’s raining or watching sprinklers water sidewalks and gutters and driveways and roadways,” Frankel says. “So we’re just not that conscientious about our water use and we really need to change that.”

The 50-gallon barrels capture rain during storms so residents can water their gardens and lawns days later. Buyers can purchase them online at Save-something-Utah-dot-org and pick them up at Murray City Park on May 9th between 10 am and 2 pm. The Utah Legislature legalized rain-water collection in 2010. Utahns can have up to two rain barrels before they have to register with the Utah Division of Water Rights.

Eric Klotz is with the Utah Division of Water Resources. He says capturing rain will by itself will not solve all of the state’s water challenges.

“Conservation is not all about one solution,” Klotz says. “But it’s about being conservation minded in our decision making and this is one program that does that.”

Frankel says he’s urging other cities or counties to expand the program.

He says Salt Lake County sold out of the $40 barrels in the first 12 hours of the program, but Murray City is still honoring the original discount for its residents.

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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