EDMOND — When it starts raining again, some Edmond residents will be ready to catch the water in a barrel.
The city's Water Resource Department has launched a rain barrel program in hopes people will be encouraged to conserve Edmond's water and save money on their utility bills.
The city's water demand in winter is about 8 million gallons per day. But in the summer months the demand jumps to 20 million gallons per day, said Kris Neifing, water resources superintendent.
Edmond is forced to purchase water from Oklahoma City when demand is high.
“We want to get out the message that it is important this time of the year to conserve water,” said Phil Jones, the city's sustainability planner. “We will probably break all records of purchasing water from Oklahoma City. It is just wise to conserve water.”
Rain water collected in the barrels will be reused to irrigate trees, flower beds and gardens.
“The city completed a 50-year water supply plan in 2009,” Neifing said. “One of the plan's major considerations was water conservation. The rain barrel program is the first step toward raising awareness, and the need to use this precious resource more wisely, now and in the future.”
People whose names are selected for one of the barrels will pay a one-time charge of $5. The project is costing the city $49,000, which was set aside in the budget for water conservation education.
Residents can sign up through Aug. 18 to receive one of the 380 available rain barrels. All names will be placed in a computer database, and selections will be made randomly. Only Edmond residential water utility customers are eligible, with one barrel allowed per customer.
Renters must get permission from the property owner.
Edmond's program is a bit different from the other programs that city staff members examined. Edmond is offering three different styles and sizes in an effort to match residents' homes.
All the barrels are plastic. One looks like a terra-cotta water urn with a planter on top and holds 60 gallons. Another looks like an oak barrel and can hold 50 gallons of water. The third style is a 40-gallon container that looks like a stone.
People can sign up at edmondok.com/rainbarrels or call 359-4518.