Rain Barrels & Harvesting Rain Water
Clean Virginia Waterways is a leader in water conservation through the use of rain barrels. More than 160 nonprofit organizations and local governments were trained by CVW to put on Rain Barrel Workshops in their communities.
Tens of thousands rain barrels are deployed across Virginia thanks to CVW and its partners.
While CVW no longer provides hands-on rain barrel workshops, and we no longer provide barrels and rain barrel kits, we will ALWAYS be a strong advocate for everyone to install a rain barrel in their yard!
Positive Reasons to have Rain Barrels:
Your plants will love it
Rainwater has no added chemicals, is usually soft and free of dissolved minerals. This untreated water is great for your indoor plants, your garden and lawn, washing your car, and your birdbaths. (Water that is "softened" with chemicals is bad for plants due to salts that are dissolved in the water.)
You will be conserving water
Drought or no drought, we should all conserve water. Our groundwater and fresh water supplies are limited. So, as more people are using groundwater, we need to use it responsibly.
You will be reducing runoff
If your roof's area is 1,200 square feet (30 x 40 feet), then 1 inch of rain equals more than 700 gallons! You can harvest this rainwater which otherwise would be lost to runoff. To harvest even more rainwater, you can connect several barrels in a series and have 100s of gallons of water capacity.
· Runoff can cause erosion, plus carry fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals into streams where they are very damaging. Rain barrels help you manage peak storm runoff.
· An overflow hose, located at the top/back of the barrel, designates the direction of excess water to flow. It can be replaced with a hose of longer lengths, to divert overflow to a garden or distant runoff area.
Water from rain barrels is easily accessible for various garden chores.
(Also, if you depend on electricity to run your well pump, this water is handy in power outages.)
If you get your water from the town, why pay to water your gardens when you can collect hundreds of gallons at no cost? Also, if you depend on electricity to run your well pump, water in rain barrels is handy in power outages.
It is recommended that you cover the top of the rain barrel with metal hardware cloth or something similar to keep small children, pets and wildlife from falling into the barrel. As an alternative, you can drill large holes (1 to 2 inches in diameter) in the rain barrel’s lid. This will allow water to enter the barrel, but will prevent animals or children from falling through the screen.
PLEASE do NOT breed mosquitoes in your rain barrels! Always cover the barrel with fine screening to keep mosquitoes out. If you empty your barrels every 7 days, you will not have a mosquito problem--remember, rain barrels are not meant to be long-term storage. If you are concerned, use small portions of Mosquito Dunks (available in hardware stores and on-line). These dunks slowly release the active ingredient, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) that kills mosquito and black fly larvae for 30 days or more, and will not effect plants, people or wildlife. The dunks are made to cover 100 square feet each, so you do not have to use an entire dunk in a barrel.
OVERFLOW -- you must have an overflow hole on your barrel that will keep the water level below the screen. If your rain barrel is full to the top, mosquitoes can breed in the water between the screen and the top of the water surface. Mosquito control employees in Henrico County, VA found that Asian Tiger Mosquitoes had entered a rain barrel by way of a hose that was attached to a manufactured rain barrel. So it is recommended that you attach screening to the end of hoses that are attached to your overflow. One fellow we know put a tiny screen onto the overflow fixture using a hose clamp.
CVW no longer provides Rain Barrel Workshops or kits (barrels, faucets, overflows, etc.).
How to make a rain barrel from a food-grade barrel: Directions here
Rain Barrels & Harvesting Rain Water
Clean Virginia Waterways is a leader in water conservation through the use of rain barrels. More than 160 nonprofit organizations and local governments have been trained by CVW to put on Rain Barrel Workshops in their communities. Tens of thousands rain barrels are deployed across Virginia thanks to CVW and its partners.
Conserve water, reduce runoff & save a bit of money
Drought or no drought, we should all conserve water. Virginia's groundwater and fresh water supplies are limited. As more people are using groundwater, we need to use it responsibly. Rainwater is usually free of dissolved minerals and great for your indoor plants, garden and lawn, washing your car, and your birdbaths.
If your roof's area is 1,200 square feet (30 x 40 feet), then 1 inch of rain equals more than 700 gallons! Harvest this rainwater which otherwise would be lost to runoff. To harvest even more rainwater, connect several barrels in a series and have 100s of gallons of water capacity.
Runoff can cause erosion, plus carry fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals into streams where they are very damaging. Rain barrels help you manage peak storm runoff. If you get your water from the town, why pay to water your gardens when you can collect hundreds of gallons at no cost? Also, if you depend on electricity to run your well pump, water in rain barrels is handy in power outages.
Rain Barrel Workshops
Every spring, CVW works with partners across the state in offering rain barrel workshops. Workshops cover water conservation, how to prevent polluted runoff, the benefits of rain barrels, how to install and maintain a rain barrel, and how to prevent mosquitoes from breeding. Send an email to email@example.com to learn about upcoming workshops. Please put "Rain Barrel Workshop" in the subject line.
Would your organization or park like to co-sponsor a Rain Barrel Workshop with CVW? Call CVW at 434-395-2602 to learn more about workshops and supplies for workshops (barrels, faucet kits, etc.).
Check out our Rain Barrel page for a great way to conserve water!
Here are other things we can all do to conserve this precious resource:
Other ways to volunteer for Clean Virginia Waterways
Volunteer in the Clean Virginia Waterways' office
We are located on the Longwood University campus in Farmville, Virginia. We could use volunteers to help us with data entry, workshop preparation, research and writing. Contact us if you can help! 434-395-2602.
Contribute to our Balloons Litter Research Project
If you find a balloon anywhere in Virginia or its coastal waters, please let us know. Data collection is the first step to finding solutions! Enter your data here.
Virginia Waterways Cleanup
Part of the International Coastal Cleanup
September 1 through October 31 annually
Sites for the 2014 Virginia Waterways Cleanups (September and October) will soon be registering volunteers! It is as easy as 1, 2, 3!
1. Find a cleanup site near you. (2014 cleanup sites will be posted later this summer)
2. Contact the Site Captain to register and get details on where to meet.
3. Show up, cleanup & fill out a data card! Bring some friends & family members too! Your actions = cleaner water!
This annual cleanup of trash and litter in our rivers and on our beaches is part of the International Coastal Cleanup and is the largest event held by Clean Virginia Waterways.
Thousands of volunteers gather along the shorelines of Virginia’s rivers, lakes, bays, and beaches in September and October to cleanup litter and debris, and recycle found items. They also complete Data Cards, supplied by Ocean Conservancy, to collect valuable information about the amounts and types of litter and debris. Please participate in this statewide and international effort dedicated to cleaning the world’s waterways.
Course for Middle School Teachers: Summer of 2013.
SOLstice: Summer of Learning – Science Teachers Investigating the Chesapeake Environment. This unique and exciting course will bring together university faculty, practicing middle-school teachers, and pre-service middleschool science teachers to work collaboratively as “teacher-researchers.” Taught by Longwood University faculty in conjunction with Clean Virginia Waterways, Longwood University's Hull Springs Farm and other partners.
Virginia's Water Resources—A Tool for Teachers curriculum packet
Virginia-specific! This book is full of information and activities for teachers to support interdisciplinary and problem-based teaching about watersheds, water quality, stewardship, and management issues. It is correlated to Virginia's Standards of Learning (SOL), and supports the Chesapeake 2000 Agreement's goal to "provide a meaningful Bay or stream outdoor experience for every school student in the watershed before graduation from high school."
Virginia's Water Resources—A Tool for Teachers was written by Jeremy M. Lloyd, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Science Education, Longwood University, and Kathleen M. Register, Executive Director of Clean Virginia Waterways. It was developed through a grant from the Virginia Environmental Endowment. Click here for the Table of Contents and PDF files you can print.
World Water Monitoring Day -- Virginia-specific guide for educators
The World Water Monitoring Day is an international education and outreach program that builds public awareness and involvement in protecting water resources around the world by engaging citizens to conduct basic monitoring of their local water bodies. Participants sample local water bodies for a core set of water quality parameters including temperature, acidity (pH), clarity (turbidity) and dissolved oxygen (DO). Results are shared with participating communities around the globe. Clean Virginia Waterways worked with the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and the Virginia Water Monitoring Council to create a new Virginia-specific guide for educators thanks to a grant from Altria. This on-line guide will help you plan a safe and educational World Water Monitoring Day event on your school grounds, or in a nearby park.
River and beach cleanups can be integrated into your classwork
Stream, river and beach cleanups can be an important part of a meaningful watershed educational experience. CVW has written "Virginia's Water Resources: A Tool for Teachers" which has several lesson plans that are built around a waterway cleanup. Students can learn about the impact of litter, math and classification skills, graphing and charting skills, and much more based on the data they collect during a cleanup. Your class, school or ecology club can have their own cleanup event in a waterway near your school. The data collected by students can also be sent to CVW for inclusion in our statewide data base. Learn about being a Site Captain.
Your gift to Clean Virginia Waterways will made a difference
Clean Virginia Waterways welcomes in-kind donations as well as financial support! Clean Virginia Waterways has 501(c)(3) status through its affiliation with the Longwood University Foundation. All donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.
Gloves (cotton, rubber or latex) are especially needed. CVW also can use donations of trashbags, litter pickup tools, water monitoring equipment, copier paper and office supplies. At our larger cleanup events, donations of water and food are appreciated.
CVW welcomes help from public relations, media and fundraising experts.
Make your gift on-line
Secure and safe! To make a donation using MasterCard or Visa, please click here. Be sure to specify that your gift is to support Clean Virginia Waterways. All information is kept in strict confidence and is not sold or distributed to third parties.
Make your gift by Check
Make your check payable to Longwood University Foundation (CVW) and mail to:
Longwood University Foundation
201 High Street
Farmville, VA 23909
Be sure to write "Clean Virginia Waterways" on the memo line of your check so CVW will be credited with your gift.
Call 434-395-2602 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how you or your business can support the work of Clean Virginia Waterways. Thank you!