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Residents with rain barrels look forward to upcoming storm in San Diego

Rain is expected in San Diego this week, and while most of that water ends up as runoff, some residents are being proactive and collecting it. KPBS North County reporter Tania Thorne shows us the benefits of rain collection barrels.

Rain is in the forecast this week, and residents with rain barrels are getting ready.

"Right before it rains, I make sure that they are empty so that I have space for more water,” said Robin Reed-Anderson, an Encinitas resident.

She has four barrels on her property that collect rainwater.

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“The rainwater — it's great for soaking. I water my fruit trees with it," she said.

With a 1-acre property, Reed-Anderson said any bit of water helps with maintaining her garden.

“It's just a lot of water. My water bill in the summer gets expensive, even though I'm switching over to California natives (plants)," she said.  

While the four rain barrels on her property don’t make a drastic difference on her bill, she said it's her way of helping the environment.

“It keeps the runoff from going wasted and going into the ocean with pet waste or oil or something like that," Reed-Anderson said.

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That's the message the Solana Center for Environmental Innovation in Encinitas is trying to promote. The nonprofit tries to mobilize the community to tackle the region's environmental issues

“The difference between watering with tap water and rainwater is huge to your plants," said Jennifer Galey, an environmental educator with the Solana Center. “If you look at the blooms that happen and how wonderful everything looks when we get big rains, it's because the tap water has been filtered out and dissolved.” 

The Solana Center sells therain barrels to the community. Barrels can be linked together and are 50 gallons in size.

“You can certainly capture rain yourself in buckets and garbage cans, but the benefit of these are that they have a spout at the bottom that you can put a hose to as well as the mosquito protection for them," she said.  

There is a cost, but Galey said the benefits outweigh the price.

“Rainwater is PH balanced, wonderful stuff. Plants will flourish and our soil appreciates it and the other benefit — the reason why the county and the jurisdiction offer rebates — is because if you capture rainwater, then you're keeping it from going down into the sewers and toxifying our ocean,” she said.

Each barrel is $95 dollars and rebates are available.