By Kayla Haggett 
BELLEVILLE – Lower Trent Conservation  wants people to think about ways they can conserve water, and they’re selling rain barrels as a fundraiser to get the public involved.
The campaign was launched on World Water Day on Wednesday March 22. Marilyn Bucholtz, communications and outreach coordinator, said that starting then was appropriate because they want people to think about how important it is to protect their local water resources.
Though the area has recovered from last year’s drought, Bucholtz said it’s still important to keep water conservation in mind.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen this year, and with climate change, I think we always need to be aware that we always have to do as much as we can to to protect that water resource and conserve it as much as possible,” said Bucholtz.
She said there’s many simple things one can do to conserve water, including using a rain barrel at home.
Ewa Bednarczuk, ecology and stewardship specialist, said that rain barrels are containers that store rainwater collected off your roof. Simple changes made to the downspout allows excess runoff to be collected in the barrel.
Though they come in all shapes, sizes and materials, they all have similar components – a filter that prevents leaves and mosquitoes from getting in the barrel, an overflow hose in case the barrel gets completely filled, and a hole at the bottom where a tap or hose can be connected to dispense the water.
She said she keeps her rain barrel on the side of her house near her garden so that it’s easy to water, but that it’s up to the user where they want to place them.
“It’s really what’s most convenient for you, that will allow you to actually use the water that you collect,” said Bednarczuk.
Though you can’t use the water for drinking, Bednarczuk said that you can use it for things such as watering your garden or washing your car.
She said it also makes a difference as it keeps water from entering storm sewers, which is an issue in urban areas where non-permeable surfaces like roofs, driveways and sidewalks prevent water from soaking into the ground and recharging groundwater.
This can also lead to flooding and backups if the system is old or not made to handle big storm events, said Bednarczuk.
Lower Trent Conservation partnered with rainbarrel.ca to host the fundraiser. People can order the barrels and any necessary accessories on the webpage from now until April 21. The rain barrels cost $55 and the accessories range from $5 to $30.
Bucholtz said that they need to sell at least 50 barrels in order to complete the fundraiser, but that they will be pleased if they sell between 100 and 150 barrels
Proceeds from the fundraiser go towards supporting youth environmental education programs put on by Lower Trent Conservation, with $10 from each barrel sold and $2 to $5 from every accessory going towards the programs.
“I think teaching our youth about the importance of our local resources, and our local water resources, is very important,” said Bucholtz.
The pick-up day for the rain barrels is Friday April 28 from 10 a.m. to six p.m. at the Lower Trent Conservation office, located at 714 Murray St, Trenton.