Friday, August 24, 2012

SACG Welcomes Second Rain Tank and Solar Pump

As earlier reported here, the City Land Bank has arranged to purchase and loan to community gardens rain tanks and solar-powered pumps through the Rebuilding Together Tool Library. This morning, Jonathan and Luke from Rain Brothers came to the SACG to install our new 300 gallon tank.

 As you may recall, when the SACG broke ground in 2009, Rain Brothers generously donated four rain barrels to our efforts. This enabled us to harvest and store 200 gallons of rain water. However, we would still run dry from time to time and have to bring water from home. Then, in 2010, the City provided us with a grant to purchase a 550 gallon rain tank from Rain Brothers. This was a game changer and we have always had sufficient water on hand for our needs until this year’s drought and water thefts. I mentioned to Leslie Strader in the Mayor’s office that we needed to increase our storage capacity to stay on top of the drought and the theft of our water. Later, I heard that the City was starting a new tank loan program and Leslie put me in touch with Rebuilding Together.

The nearby neighbor who lets us harvest rain off her roof was not willing to let us utilize a third downspout closer to Main Street. So, the new 300 gallon tank will replace the four neon blue rain barrels (with only a 200 gallon capacity). The new tank also has a smaller footprint than the four barrels and is much less of an eyesore for the St John's Baptist Church parking lot next door. Jonathan and Luke completely rebuilt the platform for the tank from the bricks and cinder blocks we had used to support the barrels.

The SACG is the first garden (and the pilot project) for the new tank loaner program. The tank is attached to a downspout so that when the tank is full, the water will simply continue to run down the downspout. In the winter, we unhook the tank and use a pre-attached plug to divert all rain down the downspout.

The solar-power pump will be used to transport water from our larger 550-gallon tank to the garden. Because it is not safe to leave the solar cell or the pump at the garden, I’ve put it somewhere safe to charge the battery. It comes with several hoses. We took the filter from the new tank to put on the pump.

As you probably know, we are not expecting rain for another week (other than a potential pop-up shower on Monday).  So, Rain Brothers is coming back to fill up our new tank -- courtesy of the City's tank loaner program. 

As for our trusty barrels, we’ve made arrangements with the Accurate Auto Center on East Main Street (which is next to the Block Watch flower garden), to let us hook up a gutter to the roof of its paint shop in order to capture rain water and to put a couple of barrels along the alley a/k/a Cherry Street behind the paint shop to store the rain water. These barrels will act as a back-up for the SACG and will support the Block Watch flower garden. As of now, SACG gardeners Barb and Frank have been transporting water twice a week from their home to keep the water garden hydrated.

We’re also thinking of loaning a barrel or two to another community garden in need. So, if you are such a garden, please contact me directly for more details.

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