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Utah brings back RainHarvest barrel discounts as snow turns to rain

This spring, Summit County can make it rain (buckets).
Courtesy Utah Rivers Council
This spring, Summit County can make it rain (buckets).

The Utah Rivers Council’s RainHarvest program returns for a ninth year this spring.

URC partners with cities and counties statewide to offer rain barrels at discounted prices. Summit County and Park City residents can purchase barrels for $55, less than half of what they cost in stores.

People can order barrels online right now. Pickup for Park City and Summit County will be Sunday, May 14, from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. at Quinn’s Junction.

Wasatch County has not partnered with URC this year but residents can still buy barrels for $83.

Park City Councilmember Max Doilney said the city jumps at any opportunity to conserve.

“Anytime we have an opportunity to save water up here at the very top of the watershed, it's a super benefit to our residents,” Doilney said. “And I know we've had record participation every year that we participate.”

The program aims to help offset the effects of drought and reduce residential water use.

But individual homeowners are not Utah’s biggest water users. Industrial applications, including agriculture, tend to use a bigger share of the water supply.

Golf courses are particularly big drains on water in the Wasatch Back. A former employee of Victory Ranch said the golf course there uses 1.5 million gallons daily in high summer and that is typical for golf courses at that elevation.

URC Executive Director Zach Frankel emphasized that RainHarvest is about coalition-building and when trying to coordinate a crisis response during droughts, every little bit helps.

“It's really easy to shift the blame to another party as an excuse for an individual or homeowner or any business or institution to not have to take efforts,” Frankel said. “I think the idea is that everybody needs to pitch in and work together regardless of what, where or who they are, where they live, or what sector they use water in.”

URC said, in the last eight years, Utahns have purchased almost 8,000 barrels through the RainHarvest program.

Barrels hold 50 gallons and URC recommends using collected water to irrigate lawns and gardens or clean things like bikes and cars.

The URC’s website states that since 2010, it has been legal for Utah residents to collect up to 2,500 gallons of rainwater on their property in covered above-ground containers or in underground cisterns.

Residents interested in buying barrels can visit www.rainbarrelprogram.org/urc.

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