Umbrella Stormwater Bulletin | 10 December : 15

Photo credit: REEP Green Solutions

Sharmalene Mendis-Millard was the RAIN Community Engagement and Volunteer Coordinator at REEP Green Solutions from 2012-2013; this is an account of her experience while on staff. She is now Program Manager at Elora Environment Centre working on delivering the RAIN program in Guelph, ON.

RAIN Barrel Blitz boosts sales, harvesting

Communities across Canada are promoting the use of rain barrels. It’s a no-brainer: residents can reduce their runoff and conserve water at the same time, saving money for themselves and their municipality. .

But how do you reach beyond a few early adopters to encourage more people to install one or more rain barrels on their property?

In 2013, REEP Green Solutions’ RAIN program (REEP RAIN) partnered with to launch a new approach: a region-wide rain barrel sale and decentralized distribution, with proceeds funding a variety of local causes. It proved so successful that it is now an annual event in Waterloo Region.

Dubbed the RAIN Barrel Blitz, this new model of rain barrel distribution combines rain barrel sales, local fundraising, stormwater management education, community engagement, and partnership building.

With the 2013 event, 10 community groups pre-sold 1,300 barrels (plus diverters and hoses)—raising $13,000 for their worthy causes. The Region of Waterloo and others helped advertise and the Weather Network covered the event in a segment that aired across Ontario.

(Click here to find out more about the RAIN Barrel Blitz... )

POLL: Do activities take place in your community to engage people about stormwater?

Contribute to the bulletin!

Let us know if you have a green infrastructure project or story that should be featured in the blog, a news item you'd like to share, or an event that Umbrella subscribers would be interested in. Email us or contribute to the thread in The Umbrella.

* Note: The Umbrella Stormwater Bulletin will be taking a break for the holidays for the remainder of 2014. See you in January!

Latest news

Engaging the community about stormwater management. The next Umbrella webinar is on Friday at 12, featuring Cheryl Evans of REEP Green Solutions. She'll be chronicling successes and challenges of the RAIN community engagement program undertaken in partnership with the Cities of Kitchener and Waterloo from 2011 to 2014.  Register now!

Big box stores need to step up to prevent flooding. Parking lots are a huge source of polluted stormwater runoff. New Orleans is developing a Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance to force new development to manage their stormwater on site. Examples in Austin, Texas of permeable paving in a Walmart parking lot showed New Orleans officials what was possible.

What are Canadian cities doing to adapt? The Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR) has released ‘Cities adapt to extreme rainfall: Celebrating local leadership.’ The book profiles projects in 20 Canadian cities designed to mitigate the impact of extreme rainfall events, including reducing basement flooding and property damage. It can be viewed on ICLR's website here.

Florida parking lot goes permeable. Melbourne, Florida is replacing a once-gravel lot with a state-of-the art porous paver system — one of the first in Florida. The project is a test site, which is designed to absorb 3 inches of rain and cut pollution from the site by 95%. Positive monitoring results will lead to further projects.

Rains are increasing in Michigan. A new study details a 128% increase in big storms over last half-century in Southern Michigan, with greater increases to come. More proof that using the past to predict future weather doesn't work anymore. Find the full report here.

Useful sites

TRCA Online Learning.  Online courses include Introduction to Low Impact Development and Design of Infiltration Practices.

Where can you find Low Impact Development? Credit Valley Conservation’s LID map is a great tool for tracking the spread of LID across Ontario. Explore or add your own LID sites to the map today. 


Engaging the Community about Stormwater Management. 12 December, 2014. 12-1pm EST. Webinar. Cheryl Evans of REEP Green Solutions on lessons learned from Kitchener and Waterloo. Register here.

Monitoring Results from LID across Canada. 16 January, 2015. 12-1pm EST. Webinar. Chris Denich of Aquafor Beech will present case studies of LID sites from across the country. Register here.

Urban Watershed Forum. 20 March, 2015. Evergreen is hosting this forum focusing on innovative approaches to the challenges of urban watershed management. Submissions  for presentations due by Friday. Contact Lorraine Chung.

TRIECA. 25-26 March, 2015. Ontario's premier stormwater and sediment and erosion control conference. Register now.

The Umbrella is an online community designed for knowledge-sharing about green stormwater infrastructure. Its members are municipal stormwater professionals, policymakers, academics, engineers, conservation authorities, nonprofits, and interested community members. The Umbrella is managed by Green Communities Canada. Submit an item for an upcoming issue or provide feedback on the bulletin.

Copyright © 2014 RAIN Community Solutions, All rights reserved.


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