The "Roll Out the Rain Barrels" program has helped save water across the constantly water-deficient western half of Kansas since spring of 2009. In the Fort Hays State University area, students in the home horticulture class will construct rain barrels in Hays on April 24.
Another construction area is planned for Ellis on April 27.
Landscaping on average uses nearly 40 percent of household watering during the summer. Rain barrels alleviate the load on a water bill by collecting rain water, typically collected from the downspout of a gutter, to be used for watering purposes.
Rain barrels offer other benefits which make it preferable to tap water. Because the water is straight from nature, no chemicals and chlorination contaminate the water. Also, any pollutants in tap water -- such as nitrogen, phosphorous, sediment and E.coli -- will not run off into local water sources when using rain water to irrigate.
Rain barrels cost $26 each, which covers freight and material cost. Only four barrels my be ordered per person. Contact Stacie Minson, Smoky Hill River Kanopolis-Lake Watershed specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to obtain an order form. For more information on water-quality protection, visit www.mykansaswatershed.com.