Saturday, June 29, 2013

Water Management

My nephew, Tyler, an environmental engineering major at OSU, has become increasingly interested in water conservation since visiting a kibbutz in Israel last winter where significant inroads on water management and conservation are being made by evironmental engineers. This week, he installed a couple of rain barrels for me. I can't tell you how happy I am to have them, just from a financial perspective, since our summer water bills tend to lean toward the side of high to outrageously high. I like plants and plants need water. But from a practical and environmental perspective, many of us in Amberley have been dealing with the question of what to do with too much water for years. While the Amberley Creek and its subsidiaries provide us with a lovely ambiance, when it rains that beautiful babbling brook can become a raging menace -- overflowing its banks and flooding our yards. Yes, the water comes from the rain falling directly from the clouds, but it also comes fast and furiously from the gutters and downspouts on our homes.

Amberley: Before Rain Garden Installed
Installing rain barrels to collect the water from our downspouts have many benefits. First, it prevents the runoff from our gutters from entering our already overloaded storm sewers. Second, rain barrels help to prevent ponding and flooding of water in our yards; third, it prevents flooding of stormwater into our streets; fourth, rain barrels provide free water for our gardens.

 Rain gardens are another practical measure homeowners can take to harvest and control some of the excess water flooding their property. In fact, Amberley Village has examples of both a rain barrel and a rain garden at Village Hall.  Before installing the Village Hall rain garden, the south end of the field was prone to flooding. By installing a rain garden, not only has the flooding been curbed, but the area is now more beautiful with the addition of deep-rooted native plants and grasses, and is a habitat for butterflies and birds.
Rain Garden in 2008

Amberley's website has plenty of information about rain barrels and rain gardens. More information can also be found at Rain Garden Network, as well as guides for installation.
Rain Garden in 2013

Amberley Rain Garden in 2013
The Hamilton County Storm Water and Conservation District has published a manual for use in properly constructing a rain garden. It can be downloaded here:

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