World Rivers Day

Day 269 – World Rivers Day is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of September. It began back in 2005 and over 100 countries participate in festivities commemorating the day.

“It highlights the many values of rivers and strives to increase public awareness and encourages the improved stewardship of rivers around the world.”World Rivers Day

Friends of the Chicago River gives many ways in which you can help protect the river.

  1. Make water conservation part of your daily life Check out these easy ways to conserve water.
  2. Help keep stormwater and wastewater out of our waterways by signing up for. Overflow Action Days alerts.
  3. Be the eyes and ears of the river: Know “Who to Call” when you see pollution in the river.
  4. Plant native plants like milkweed and prairie grasses with long root systems to help filter and trap rainwater.
  5. Consider a planting a raingarden, especially in the low points of your property. This helps keep water out of your basement too.
  6. Choose permiable pavers when renovating your landscaping to allow water to seep into the ground where it falls and keep it out of overloaded storm drains.
  7. Install a rainbarrel or other innovative ideas on trapping stormwater.
  8. Test your soil before fertilizing. Get the beautiful lawn you want by applying only the nutrients needed, keeping the excess out of our waterways. It saves time and money.

On this World Rivers Day, find the protectors of your local rivers and make sure to support their efforts.

Rain Barrels: Collecting water to conserve water

Day 111 – A few years ago, I received a free rain barrel from the city. Yes, FREE! I used it for a few months and decided I didn’t like how it looked it my backyard. It wasn’t aesthetically pleasing. So, I gave it away. I know, completely idiotic! Now, I wish I had that rain barrel back.

During the summer months a rain barrel can save a homeowner around 1,300 gallons of water. That number will fluctuate depending on the amount of rain your area receives and the size of your rain barrel. However it’s very clear that rain barrels are very beneficial. Here are a few other reasons:

  1. By collecting rain in a rain barrel, you are conserving water. Water conservation is a very important factor when considering the changes needed to help the environment.
  2. By collecting all that rain water, you can save a significant amount of money on your water bill. You will no longer have to spend money watering your outside or inside plants. The water in the rain barrel will take care of that. You might even be able to wash your car with what is left. You have the potential of saving hundreds of dollars each year on your water bill.
  3. A rain barrel can collect a lot a rain and help prevent flooding in your backyard or seepage into your basement.
  4. Rain barrels help reduce rainwater runoff. Not only do they help minimize the amount of fertilizers, pesticides and other contaminants from entering waterways, but they also help reduce the amount of water entering our overloaded storm sewers. 
  5. Rain barrels help reduce soil erosion, by slowing down the flow of gutter runoff. Erosion can damage your foundation, as well as remove the nutrient-rich topsoil from your garden.
  6. Rainwater is the best for plants, both potted and the garden varieties. With minimal contaminants and no chemicals, rainwater is the healthiest choice for your potted plants and gardens.
  7. Collected rainwater will come in handy during periods of no rain and extreme dryness.

If you have been using the same excuse I used, rain barrels are just not “pretty” enough, I encourage you to take a look at all the aesthetically pleasing rain barrels on the market. They come in every size, shape and color. Wayfair alone has over 100 different rain barrels to choose from.

Cook County residents can also purchase a rain barrel from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago for the low, low price of $45.78 (including tax). It includes a flexible connecting elbow to attach your barrel to your downspout, a linking hose to connect it to a second barrel, detailed instructions, and free delivery to your home. 

I ordered my 55 gallon, 36″ tall rain barrel, which was manufactured from recycled plastics, on Monday (from MWR). This one isn’t going anywhere!

Tomorrow, ideas to celebrate Earth Day.