Rain, RAIN!

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Utah is the second driest state in the Union. No, I don’t mean booze, I mean moisture.  Although we’re known for having the greatest snow on earth, the airy flakes don’t melt out to much water.  You may have heard that Gov. Jerry Brown of California has signed legislation to reduce monthly water use by 20% because 93% of the state is under severe drought. We’ve got a big time drought too but so far our Governor hasn’t called for mandatory water cut backs.

        If you’ve got a well in your back yard, who owns the water? Most likely, not you. The state of Utah owns the water here and you’re not allowed to use it without permission. Whaaaaaa?  Isn’t everyone into collecting rainwater these days and helping Mother Nature water the garden and landscaping plants? You’re okay there because the state made it legal to collect rainwater in 2010.  Salt Lake County this past week is officially encouraging you collect rainwater through a program called RainHarvest. County residents are encouraged to collect what falls from the skies to water plants and is offering 50-gallon collection barrels at $40 each (normally $130) first come first serve.

        Apart from the obvious, rain collection is a good thing because the water comes out of the sky with less pollutants. Rain that runs down the street may have oil, gas, fertilizer, poop, piss, vomit, decay, organic and non-organic stuff. Mormon pioneers knew how precious water was when they settled the capitol city. The first thing they started doing was digging irrigation ditches and dam up City Creek to soften the hard clay soil so they could plant potato crops. There were over 1000 miles of irrigation canals in Utah by 1865 and there was a water ditch in front of the Beehive and Lion Houses downtown. Our fine state was successful in part getting off and running because we were the first irrigation-based economy in the entire country.

        I laugh when I see folks buying large bottles of water in the grocery store. Who knows where it comes from and how much energy and resources were wasted in getting it to Salt Lake City? We have a free, wonderful source of drinking water at the Artesian Well Park at 800 South and 500 East that is continually fed by a deep underground aquifer. Anyone can take water from the spigots 24/7, 365 days a year.

        Smarten up your water use and get a rain barrel. You can pre-order the discounted barrels on savesomethingutah.org until May 3rd  and get the $40 price for the 50 gallon containers. Otherwise you can purchase them at a larger local hardware chain or at Murray Park from 10AM-2PM on May 9th for $74 each.