Save Water With a Rain Barrel

Joe Jastrow with a rain barrel

You probably didn’t know you could buy a rain barrel at the Milwaukee County Zoo. What would you do with it? Bring it home, hook it to your rain-gutter downspout and collect rainwater. It’s an ever-more-popular conservation tactic. Instead of water going into streets and storm drains, the water can be used to sprinkle your lawn or your garden, saving you money. Joe Jastrow, merchandise manager at the Zoo, has sold hundreds of rain barrels for $45 each in the Zoo’s gift shops. Zoological Society members get their usual 10% gift-shop discount on the barrels by showing their Zoo Pass.

“For the last few years I've been working with the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) selling their rain barrels, which are recycled barrels,” says Jastrow. “They save energy by not using processed water. The benefits of the barrels, that they are recycled and that the Milwaukee Community Service Corps is employed to make them, sold me on the program.” The service corps is a group of young people, ages 14 through 23, working to preserve, conserve and restore water quality. “The rain barrels are helping to save the Great Lakes from pollution one barrel at a time.”

Text by Paula Brookmire