Organization promotes rain barrels to control flooding - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Organization promotes rain barrels to control flooding

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL)-- It can be a powerless feeling sitting by and watching as heavy rains collect and cause flooding.

"We've had such terrible problems with runoff, water that comes off roofs and goes into the streams and rivers," said Rich Patterson, director of the Indian Creek Nature Center in Cedar Rapids.

The nature center is encouraging people to pitch in by using 65 gallon rain barrels to help limit the damage.

"It does help people take individual action to reduce flooding," Patterson said.

These barrels sell for as little as $60  and are installed rather easily underneath a home's downspout.

After the rain stops and the ground dries out, the collected water can then be used for irrigation purposes.

Former Cedar Rapids mayor Kay Halloran is enjoying the benefits of having installed two barrels at her home.

"Having water available close to the deck and not having it full of city chemicals," Halloran said.

Halloran agrees with Patterson in that the more barrels that are put into use, the more significant impact it can have on the surrounding community.

"Any water which does not get into a street or a driveway and either is used elsewhere, or is given an opportunity to peculate into the ground, is what we need," she said.

Of course, Patterson says the idea has seen its share of criticism.  Many are skeptical that retaining 65 gallons of water at a time could make a measurable difference.

"Our response to that is yes, it has an impact, it does help. Every gallon that is retained and not released into a storm sewer or stream, helps keep that water out of somebody's basement downstream," Patterson said.

Online Reporter:  Jason Epner

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