Scott and Linda Travis are having a barrel of fun keeping their lawn healthy and happy. They have one of the best lawns in their neighborhood.
People envy it. They take time to note additions and changes to their landscaping from year to year. Always manicured, his grass isn’t just lush, it’s emerald green even during the hottest months of summer.
When most people are fighting to merely keep lawns alive, the Travises not only support existing foliage, they add plants to their landscape. Neighbors begin to talk as the couple continues to water their lawn during mandatory county-wide watering bans.
His answer to the chatter -- use rain barrels to collect and store rainwater running off rooftops during wetter months. Rainwater that would otherwise be lost is now abundantly available to resuscitate struggling lawns, flowerbeds and gardens.
A rain barrel can save homeowners from purchasing 1,300 gallons of water during the blistering hot summer months, experts argue.
Drought conditions are common throughout Chickasaw Country. According to Oklahoma officials, 2011-12 saw the least amount of annual rainfall in decades. Authorities said all counties within Chickasaw Country experienced some level of drought this summer.
Relief is on the way through seasonal tides, however. Chickasaw Country will usher in autumn on Sunday, Sept. 22.
Many cities and rural water districts limit the amount of water people use during droughts. Estimates of water usage during prolonged droughts show nearly 40 percent goes to water lawns and gardens.
“Using water from rain barrels is an excellent way to save money,” said Chickasaw Nation Environmental Specialist Ambrie Johnson. “Water collected this way is best suited for plants.”
Almost all rain barrel systems tie into existing home guttering. Hundreds of dollars are saved annually through reducing water bills by collecting rainwater. Most rain barrels are constructed from 55-gallon drums and other items found at local home improvement stores. It takes an afternoon to build a rain barrel for less than $75.
For more information or to set demonstrations for groups numbering more than 10, contact Cindy Gammons at (580) 272-5456.
Large, open containers should not be used for rainwater storage. Rain barrels need enclosed tops with grates. The grates will allow water in, but keep out small animals.
A fine screen on the grate can be used to keep insects out. Never use stored water for drinking.
When full, rain barrels can pose a tipping risk. Completed barrels should be on level ground with a sturdy foundation.