Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past two months, you’ve probably noticed that it’s been pretty soggy this summer. Officials say the amount of rain is both unsurprising and beneficial after the droughts over the last few years, but a wet summer is no excuse to neglect efforts to conserve water.
Charlottesville’s annual rainfall is 44.34″; as of July 25, the city has seen 27.31″ in the year 2013. Across the Commonwealth, the precipitation numbers have surpassed the June averages—Blacksburg’s rainfall last month was 7.9″, Richmond came in at 6.5″, and Charlottesville received 7.1″. All three cities exceeded their monthly averages by more than 3″. Roanoke set a new record for this month with 10.32″ of rain on July 10, and two people died in severe flash floods.
Damages in the Charlottesville-Albemarle area have been less severe—especially compared to last year’s derecho, which wiped out power for millions and killed dozens of people—though a portion of Dick Woods Road in the county was washed away entirely on July 11 due to heavy rain.
“Yes, there’s been a heck of a lot of rain this summer,” said Charlottesville Environmental Administrator Kristel Riddervold. “But that doesn’t mean all those conservation habits should be thrown out the window. People still need to be aware of day-to-day practices.”
One method of preserving and reusing water has become increasingly popular in Charlottesville since the city implemented its rain barrel rebate program. Rain barrels can collect more than 600 gallons of water from 1″ of rain on a 1,000 square foot roof, preventing the need to use fresh hose water for gardening and yard work. Purchase a barrel from any distributor in town (e.g., Whole Foods, The Garden Spot, the Rivanna Conservation Society, Southern States, etc.), and present a valid receipt at City Hall for up to two $30 rebates.
For a comprehensive list of long-term and short-term suggestions on how to make water conservation part of your everyday life, check out the city’s website at charlottes-ville.org/water.
Water conservation tips:
- Make sure your sprinklers aren’t set to run while it’s raining.
- Repair dripping faucets. A dripping rate of one drop per second can waste up to 2,700 gallons of water a year.
- Place a plastic bottle filled with water in your toilet tank. It will displace water and can save gallons each day.
- Collect shower/bath “warm-up” water and use it for watering your garden.
- Keep a container of water in the refrigerator so you don’t have to run water to get a cold drink.