Pawtucket wins rain barrel grant

Pawtucket wins rain barrel grant

Rain barrels now available for free, as city strives for water-saver status

PAWTUCKET – This city could soon be a water conservation leader, say officials, as more residents collect and save one of its natural resources.

The Rhode Island Foundation is announcing today, Wednesday, that Pawtucket is a winner of a $10,000 community grant to purchase 100 rain barrels for residents.

The city had already implemented a rain barrel program, said Lauren Greene, spokeswoman for Mayor Donald Grebien, but grant funds will now pay for the majority of the opening round of the initiative. The Department of Public Works was set to allocate funds for the program but will now use grant money first as it gauges the level of interest in the program, she said.

Rain barrels are simple devices, essentially collecting water from the roof and saving it for later use on the garden or lawn.

The grant will purchase about 100 barrels, and city officials anticipate being able to give away about 125 barrels total.

“Installing rain barrels is an easy way for property owners to harvest stormwater runoff on their property, which reduces the stress on the city’s drainage system,” said Andrew Silvia, chief of project development at the Pawtucket DPW. “The water retained in the barrel can be used to water grass or flowers, and in doing so, the homeowner saves money on their water bill.”

Officials are also applying for other grants. If money comes in and applications exceed demand, the program could be expanded, said Greene.

“We are working to make Pawtucket cleaner and greener,” said Mayor Grebien. “Thank you to the Rhode Island Foundation for supporting our efforts to improve the city’s stormwater system and lessen our impact on the environment.”

Rain barrels will be distributed free of charge to those who ask first. The program is being done in conjunction with the Pawtucket Arts and Culture Commission, the Jacqueline M. Walsh School for the Performing and Visual Arts, and the Rhode Island Green Infrastructure Coalition. The arts commission and arts high school are sprucing up the program by adding artwork to some of the barrels.

To receive a free rain barrel for your property, apply online at www.pawtucketri.com or call 401-728-0500 ext. 317 by July 31.