The SoCal Water$mart Program Will Make Storm Water Harvesters of us All!!

Perhaps you have never given much thought to how much rainwater runs off your roof, into your gutters, down your downspout and out to storm drains in the street. Most folks are blown away to learn 600 gallons of rainwater can be harvested from a 1000 square foot roof for every inch of rainfall.

Prior to Governor Brown signing the “Rainwater Capture Act of 2012” rain barrels were illegal in California due to mosquito abatement issues. Water conservation hadn’t been on anybody’s mind much and rain barrels were more trouble than they were worth in times of abundant water supply.

It took a mega-drought to get people hip to rain barrels and storm water harvesting writ large. The truth is it’s a good idea even if there isn’t a drought. Rain water is naturally soft. No chlorine, fluoride or other chemicals. Your houseplants will think they’ve died and gone to hydration Heaven! Your garden veggies and other outdoor plants will feel so satisfyingly moistened they’ll show you their gratitude in beautiful and delicious ways.

Regardless of drought or deluge the barrels won’t do you any good unless you use them. A spigot is installed at the bottom of each one to connect your garden hose or soaker hose. You can get decent water pressure, especially if you elevate the barrels 6” to get a smidge more gravity working for you. Hose down your pets, neighbor’s kids, muddy feet, boots, garden tools. Heck, how about a guilt free car washing or driveway hosing? Live it up kid! Your using water that would have flowed right on out of your life forever had you not captured and re-purposed it!

If you have looked into rain barrels you may have discovered they each hold about 50 gallons and the basic models go for around $75. You could spend a lot more for barrels that look like a giant Grecian burial urn or maybe a faux whiskey barrel theme. Best to keep it basic since that’s all the rebate will cover. There are some additional items too like the flex hose, mosquito screen, fittings, valves and downspout diverter. Home Depot has main-barrel and barrel-connector kits that even include the hole-saw bits you’ll need.  It makes sense to have at least 4 barrels for 200-gallon capacity at a minimum.  

Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, through their SoCal Water$mart program will reimburse you $300 or more when you purchase a 4-barrel system. If you’re a DIY type, you can simply buy a system, install it, fill out the online form at https://mwd.conservationrebates.com/ and wait 6 to 8 weeks to get your reimbursement check.

More likely, an army of canvassers will descend upon your neighborhood. They will offer to install you a 4-barrel system for free. They may even mention free water saving toilets to boot! Basically what some contractors do is order rain barrels and toilets by the boatload and install them absolutely free for anyone who’s name appears on the water bill. Then, they ask you to sign a form that releases your rebate to them. This is Legit!  As long as they are a licensed contractor that does proper installations this option is fully endorsed by the water district. It’s about a break-even proposition for the contractor. The amount of your rebate basically covers the cost of the items installed and the gas and labor involved.

So why does a contractor install free stuff for you just so as to break even? Ahh, you can chalk it all up to lead generation, plain and simple. These contractors also install solar panels and other energy efficiency products. They figure doing you a solid like giving you free rain barrels and water saving toilets just might make you more amenable to letting them talk to you about solar panels or some other upgrade. They solve a lead development problem and you get free water saving stuff. Of course you could have gotten the free stuff anyway but you would have had to expend quite a bit more effort, shell out the money and wait the 6 to 8 weeks to get it back.

It sounds like a “win-win” to me! The only downside might be the pesky door to door canvassers. Hopefully, you’ll feel the benefit outweighs the annoyance factor. Saving money on your water bill, treating your plants like royalty with rainwater and doing your part to conserve is surely no inconsequential reward.

The SoCal Water$mart Program Will Make Storm Water Harvesters of us All!!

Perhaps you have never given much thought to how much rainwater runs off your roof, into your gutters, down your downspout and out to storm drains in the street. Most folks are blown away to learn 600 gallons of rainwater can be harvested from a 1000 square foot roof for every inch of rainfall.

Prior to Governor Brown signing the “Rainwater Capture Act of 2012” rain barrels were illegal in California due to mosquito abatement issues. Water conservation hadn’t been on anybody’s mind much and rain barrels were more trouble than they were worth in times of abundant water supply.

It took a mega-drought to get people hip to rain barrels and storm water harvesting writ large. The truth is it’s a good idea even if there isn’t a drought. Rain water is naturally soft. No chlorine, fluoride or other chemicals. Your houseplants will think they’ve died and gone to hydration Heaven! Your garden veggies and other outdoor plants will feel so satisfyingly moistened they’ll show you their gratitude in beautiful and delicious ways.

Regardless of drought or deluge the barrels won’t do you any good unless you use them. A spigot is installed at the bottom of each one to connect your garden hose or soaker hose. You can get decent water pressure, especially if you elevate the barrels 6” to get a smidge more gravity working for you. Hose down your pets, neighbor’s kids, muddy feet, boots, garden tools. Heck, how about a guilt free car washing or driveway hosing? Live it up kid! Your using water that would have flowed right on out of your life forever had you not captured and re-purposed it!

If you have looked into rain barrels you may have discovered they each hold about 50 gallons and the basic models go for around $75. You could spend a lot more for barrels that look like a giant Grecian burial urn or maybe a faux whiskey barrel theme. Best to keep it basic since that’s all the rebate will cover. There are some additional items too like the flex hose, mosquito screen, fittings, valves and downspout diverter. Home Depot has main-barrel and barrel-connector kits that even include the hole-saw bits you’ll need.  It makes sense to have at least 4 barrels for 200-gallon capacity at a minimum.  

Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, through their SoCal Water$mart program will reimburse you $300 or more when you purchase a 4-barrel system. If you’re a DIY type, you can simply buy a system, install it, fill out the online form at https://mwd.conservationrebates.com/ and wait 6 to 8 weeks to get your reimbursement check.

More likely, an army of canvassers will descend upon your neighborhood. They will offer to install you a 4-barrel system for free. They may even mention free water saving toilets to boot! Basically what some contractors do is order rain barrels and toilets by the boatload and install them absolutely free for anyone who’s name appears on the water bill. Then, they ask you to sign a form that releases your rebate to them. This is Legit!  As long as they are a licensed contractor that does proper installations this option is fully endorsed by the water district. It’s about a break-even proposition for the contractor. The amount of your rebate basically covers the cost of the items installed and the gas and labor involved.

So why does a contractor install free stuff for you just so as to break even? Ahh, you can chalk it all up to lead generation, plain and simple. These contractors also install solar panels and other energy efficiency products. They figure doing you a solid like giving you free rain barrels and water saving toilets just might make you more amenable to letting them talk to you about solar panels or some other upgrade. They solve a lead development problem and you get free water saving stuff. Of course you could have gotten the free stuff anyway but you would have had to expend quite a bit more effort, shell out the money and wait the 6 to 8 weeks to get it back.

It sounds like a “win-win” to me! The only downside might be the pesky door to door canvassers. Hopefully, you’ll feel the benefit outweighs the annoyance factor. Saving money on your water bill, treating your plants like royalty with rainwater and doing your part to conserve is surely no inconsequential reward.

Published by Bill Hoover