As we develop our land and increase the amount of paved surfaces and buildings (known as impervious cover), the water cycle is changed. Less rainfall and snow melt sinks into the ground and more water flows rapidly over the land and into our rivers. Stormwater runoff can lead to increased flooding, erosion and pollution and decreased groundwater recharge during dry periods. As impervious surfaces increase, the problems associated with stormwater quality also increase. Stormwater can contain pollutants such as sediment, nutrients, bacteria and chemicals that can threaten aquatic health, and contribute to the loss of water dependent recreational activities. Unmanaged stormwater is recognized nationally as the leading cause of water pollution today.
How can I help?
One of the easiest and most cost effective methods for conserving water and improving water quality is to install a rain barrel. Rain barrels collect water from the downspout of a rooftop gutter and store it for later use. The water can then be reused for a variety of non-potable water needs. Using a rain barrel at your home can:
- Help conserve tap water and energy use.
- Lower your water and utility bills.
- Divert stormwater back to the landscape.
- Capture a valuable resource that would otherwise be lost to storm drains.
- Help to control local flooding.
- Protect rivers and streams from erosion.
- Keep pollutants from paved areas from entering waterways.
Do your part and be a solution to water pollution!