2006 Fowler Election Platform – Rain Barrels


as originally posted on my Election Website

I propose that homeowners be required to connect their eavestrough downspouts to rain barrels. Rather than allowing that water to run off into the sewer system, it can easily be collected and used.

As the amount of concrete in the city increases, and as green space which could otherwise absorb the rainfall decreases, rainfall can end up overflowing a city’s pipes. 1

“Capture rainwater for your garden using a cistern or a rain barrel. Make sure your barrel is covered with a tight-fitting lid or screen to keep disease-carrying mosquitoes from breeding there.” 2

“Disconnecting downspouts slows the flow of water into drains and sewers during heavy rainstorms. In some parts of the city, sewers back up during bad storms, flooding basements with filthy water.” 1

“During very heavy flows, water from sanitary sewers ā€” which carry waste from baths and toilets ā€” can get mixed with water from storm sewers, which are supposed to carry surface run-off.” 1

“During heavy rainfalls, the volume of stormwater in the combined sewer system can be as much as 75 times more than during dry-weather flows.” 3

“Water that comes to city dwellers in the form of rain is hurried–into storm sewer systems and away by asphalt, concrete, or the roof of your apartment, surfaces that donā€™t absorb water. Sewer systems in many cities combine household sewage with storm water in the same pipes. Because of population growth since these older sewer systems were installed, sewers overflow when it rains a lot. That means sewage gets dumped, untreated, into rivers and lakes.” 4

“Rain barrels are a great way to save water outdoors as is washing your car at a car wash that recycles their water.” 5

1. “Downspouts must go, city says”; John Spears; Toronto Star; 2006/09/29
2. http://www.london.ca/Cityhall/…/OTC/One_Tonne_Challenge.htm
3. http://www.toronto.ca/water/…/stormwater_pollution/pdf/homefs.pdf
4. http://www.yougrowgirl.com/garden/rain_barrel.php
5. http://www.cityofbremerton.com/content/waterconservation.html

See also:
AMP: Harvesting Rainwater
AMP: Build Your Own Rain Barrel

  • ©Gregory Fowler 2006 Municipal Election Campaign

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One Response to “2006 Fowler Election Platform – Rain Barrels”

  1. Caroline Says:

    While I agree with this idea in many respects, I’m not sure that attempting to force people to use rain-barrels would be effective. Sure, some would use them, but lots just wouldn’t bother. Lids would be left off, or not replaced when damaged, increasing the mosquito problem; water would be left unused, so that the next rainfall would just overflow and go into the sewers anyway; Spouts would be left open, so that water would flow straight through; and barrels would be left outside over the winter, leaving a city full of cracked barrels.

    It’s an interesting idea, though. Perhaps a more effective method might be to change the building code so that water-collecting features would have to be built into new buildings. A rainwater collection system could be used for flushing toilets, for example.

    I believe that there’s a company in Stratford looking into manufacturing rainwater collection systems for industry, in an attempt to claim rebates from cities by reducing their impact on the sewer systems. That could make a real difference!

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