Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

Solutions to our Changing Weather: Cisterns & Rain Barrels

By N. R. Mallery

With the warming planet and climate changes, here in the northeast, we are currently experiencing a lower water table than normal. With the lack of snow melt and rain this spring, not only is the danger of forest fires extremely high, but also concerns for our need for water — as we enter our growing season with a good possibility for hotter temperatures and a thirst that does not end.

Are there any measures that could help to prepare oneself  …in case? In days gone by it was very common to find ‘Cisterns’ that families used for many purposes including cooking, irrigation, and washing. Some older farm houses still have a cistern in the yard or basement. Maybe it is time to consider bringing them back!
As described in Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, “Cisterns are often built to catch and store rainwater. Cisterns are distinguished from wells by their waterproof linings. Modern cisterns range in capacity from a few litres to thousands of cubic metres, effectively forming covered reservoirs… Cisterns are essential elements of emerging water management techniques in dry-land-farming communities.

Present day cisterns are often only used for irrigation due to concerns over water quality. Today, they can also be outfitted with filters or other water purification methods when the water is meant for consumption. It is not uncommon for cisterns to be open in some way in order to catch rain or to include more elaborate rain-catching systems. It is recommended in these cases to have a system that does not leave the water open to algae or to mosquitos , which are attracted to the water and then potentially carry disease to nearby humans.

Some cisterns sit on the top of houses or on the ground higher than the house, and supply the running water needs for the house. They are often supplied, not by rainwater harvesting,  but by wells with electric pumps , or are filled by manual labor or by truck delivery. This is a very common practice throughout Brazil, for instance.”

But there is an even easier simple method to collect and reserve or hold rain water for future use: Rain Barrels! ReSource from Burlington kindly contributed directions on How to Build and Install your own rain barrel.  They also hold workshops where you can ‘make and take’ your own rainbarrel.
Upcoming workshop schedule:

In collaboration with the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, ReSOURCE has begun holding a series of community based “Build Your Own Rain Barrel” workshops last spring. Through these workshops, ReSOURCE educates community members on storm water runoff and strategies to reduce its environmental impact, and trains participants how to build and install their own rain barrel(s), which they take with them. Rain barrels are constructed from recycled 55 gallon industrial drums secured through local businesses. ReSOURCE has the goal of holding 15 such workshops and distributing 225 rain barrels by August 2012, and has held 8 workshops to date with great success. Upcoming workshops will be held at ReSOURCE’s ReBUILD center in Burlington on April 14, May 12, and June 9 from 10:00-12:00. Info:  or

Click here for more information: Cisterns & Rain Barrels

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