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Salt Lake City Introduces Rain-Barrel Program

Whittney Evans
Stephanie Duer, Salt Lake City's water conservation program manager shows off the city's first rain-barrel installation.

Salt Lake City is getting in on the rain barrel craze. They’re offering barrels to water customers, hoping it will increase participation in the city’s existing conservation efforts.

They’re the hottest new way to combat drought and conserve water. And local governments across the state are lining up to help residents get their hands on one.

“It’s just a barrel. It’s a lovely green. It’s just a barrel, you guys.”

Salt Lake City’s Water Conservation Program Manager Stephanie Duer laughs as she shows reporters how the rain barrels work. But, she says they’re helping residents save water and shrink utility bills, 60 gallons at a time. Earlier this spring Salt Lake County and several cities throughout the valley offered a limited number of rain barrels at a discount. Duer says Salt Lake City has decided not to subsidize the cost of the barrels. They’re $68 each. She thinks that makes the program sustainable in the long run. 

“We think that in doing that also, the households that take a rain barrel will be more likely to use the rain barrel and be engaged with it,” Duer says. “And we’re also trying to develop a relationship. We want to know who has a rain barrel. We want to talk to them about their experiences, how to make it better, if we do a bigger rain barrel program, what will make it work.”

Duer hopes folks that buy the barrels also take advantage of the city’s Water Check program, which brings irrigation specialists to homes to assess irrigation systems and determine how homeowners can run the systems more efficiently. She says Water Check customers are reducing water use by more than 35 percent. It’s offered free to customers of the utility.

Salt Lake City has 208 barrels available now, but may expand in the future. 

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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