Starting in late March and running to the end of June, a new initiative by Green Calgary is offering rain barrels for sale around the city so that you can reduce wasted resources while maintaining your garden this Summer! With your rain barrel, you'll be able to water and nourish your garden with collected rainwater, ultimately reducing the amount of tap/hose water needed. The best part is, using rainwater comes with many perks that may help keep your gardens and lawns vibrant all Summer long, even during water bans!

Rainwater is better for your plants and soil - Rainwater is free of the salts and inorganic matter found in tap water. By using rainwater, you reduce the amount of these substances in your soil, thus making plants more drought tolerant. Rainwater is also highly oxygenated, which helps plants stay healthy and strong.

You'll have your own water source during a drought - Every Summer, the City of Calgary has at least one water ban in place, which leaves avid gardeners wondering how to keep their gardens hydrated. With 30º weather, some lawns dry up (and let's face it, we see enough brown grass throughout the year), and plants wilt. By collecting rainwater, you'll be able to nourish your garden throughout the Summer.

Reduce runoff pollution - Calgary doesn't get a lot of rain, but when we do, it pours. Having your rain barrel installed and ready to go for the Spring storms not only benefits your garden through the Summer heat but also helps reduce the amount of fertilizer, oils, and pesticides washed into our water system. This reduces the amount of expensive and energy-intensive sewage treatments.

Control the moisture levels around the foundation of your home - Collecting rainwater before it hits the ground helps to reduce the amount of groundwater next to your foundation, reducing flooding, dampness, and mould.

Reduce your water bill - Who doesn't love to save a bit of cash? During our hot Summer months, watering gardens and lawns accounts for up to 40 percent of residential water use!

So how do you get your rain barrel? You can pre-register for a barrel kit and pick it up from one of the many locations or arrange to have it delivered. Talk about an incredible (and easy!) way to live a "greener" life!

For full details and location of pick up events, visit the City of Calgary's website: http://www.greencalgary.org/event-calendar/