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Conserve water with recycled rainbarrels

POSTED: May 10, 2013 1:00 a.m.

The Soque River Watershed Association in Clarkesvillle and the Habitat for Humanity ReStores in Clarkesville and Clayton are teaming up again to turn recycled Coca-Cola barrels into rainbarrels for water conservation efforts.

The local partnership between the SRWA and Habitat has been building during the past three years, beginning with efforts to make rainbarrels available at the ReStore in Clarkesville in 2010. Since then, more than 100 barrels have been sold and distributed, leading both organizations to partner in installing a 1,000-gallon cistern on Aug. 23, 2012, to help irrigate a garden area at the front of the ReStore. That same afternoon the Clayton ReStore received its first shipment of 15 rainbarrels and do-it-yourself kits to begin a similar program in Rabun County.

Barrels at each location cost $45 and includes a sealed 55-gallon drum and a do-it-yourself diverter kit including a rubber cup slid into a standard rain gutter to divert water into a sealed rainbarrel. The new design allows overflow from the rainbarrel to go back into the rain gutter and eliminates mosquitoes by keeping the barrel sealed.

“At the heart of our collaboration is education,” SRWA director Justin Ellis said. “The best way to make water conservation more commonplace is to make it simple, accessible and by using technology that works.”

The project is made possible by the Coca-Cola company and its distribution plant in Athens. The company provides the barrels while North Georgia Technical College and its commercial truck driving school help pick up the barrels.

“When we first started this project eight years ago, we weren’t able to distribute very many barrels in a given year, but with partners like the Habitat ReStore, North Georgia Technical College and the city of Tallulah Falls who installed barrels on nearly every home in the city back in July of 2010, we’re able to have a real impact,” Ellis said.

Each new Habitat House built also receives a rainbarrel already installed.

“We hope to find additional partners that can help spread the message and the barrels,” Ellis said.

For more information about using rainbarrels, look for “Harvesting Rain with rainbarrels and cisterns,” on the Web page www.soque.org or pick up barrels at the Habitat ReStore in Clayton by calling Tom Herring at 706-212-2059 or Dwight Anderson at the the ReStore in Clarkesville 706-754-5313.


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