Environment

Got a Rainy Day Fund? Get a Discounted Rain Barrel!

The rainy season is coming, but you still have time to get a discounted rain barrel to “harvest” the upcoming rains, cut your watering costs and protect local beaches by reducing pollution.

Through Oct. 13, County residents can get a discounted, top-of-the-line, $90 Ivy rain barrel — a cost that could shrink to as little as $25 — by ordering one online, thanks to San Diego County’s Watershed Protection Program and the nonprofit Solana Center.

Here’s how to do it. San Diego County residents can order a rain barrel online for $90 at the Solana Center’s website through Sunday, Oct. 13. County residents who get their water from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California — through the San Diego County Water Authority or its participating member agencies in San Diego County — can apply for a $35 rebate that can shrink the cost of their $90 rain barrel to $55.

And the County of San Diego is giving out its own $30 discount to residents living in unincorporated areas — on the first 200 rain barrels ordered. Qualify for the rebate and discount and the price of your $90 rain barrel is just $25!

The rain barrels will not be shipped. Instead, you can pick up your barrel from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 19 at the Fallbrook Mission Resource Conservation District at 130 E. Alvarado St. in Fallbrook. Or you can pick it up at the Solana Center’s Encinitas offices at 137 N. El Camino Real from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday’s through Thursdays, or from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays.

Having a rain barrel can let you “harvest” rain right off your roof and use it to keep your gardens or lawns green the old-fashioned way. That can cut your water costs and even help protect our local beaches by preventing excess rain from washing pollution off our roofs and yards, and down our streets to the ocean.

The Ivy rain barrels have a locking, child-proof lid, are made of 100 percent recycled material, have overflow ports, protective screening to keep mosquitoes out, a ¾-inch ball valve to connect to your garden hose or to another barrel, and they don’t need pumps because they use gravity to dispense their collected rainwater.

Getting your discounted rain barrel is as easy as one, two, three. One, order your barrel. Two, apply for your rebate(s). Three, go pick up your barrel.

Order and buy your barrel

Go to the County/Solana Center website. Scroll halfway down the page and choose one of the two locations to pick up your rain barrel — at the Fallbrook Mission Resource Conservation District, or the Solana Center in Encinitas. Once you choose a location, you can order and pay for your rain barrel with a credit card.

If you live in an unincorporated community or area and NOT in a city, remember to check the “unincorporated” box to make sure you are given the County’s $30 discount. The discount will be automatically applied to your purchase price when you’re buying your rain barrel. Solana Center officials will double-check after your purchase to make sure you’re eligible for the discount. You can check here to see a list of eligible, ineligible and maybe eligible ZIP codes.

You may buy as many rain barrels as you’d like, but the Metropolitan rebate and County discount are limited to two per household.

Finally, remember that your rain barrel will NOT be delivered. You can pick it up at either of the two pickup locations.

Apply for your rebate(s)

$35 rebates from the Metropolitan Water District are available within 90 days of ordering/buying your rain barrel, so go to the SoCalWaterSmart link as soon as you order your rain barrel(s) and click on “rain barrel’s and cisterns” under “available rebates.” Rebates are available on a first-come, first-served basis. You can check out the Metropolitan Water District rebates’ frequently asked questions and conditions for help.

Pick up your rain barrel!

When you buy your barrel(s), Rain Water Solutions will email you a confirmation of your purchase (look for the email with the subject line “Order#… confirmed”). Remember to bring your confirmation email with you when you go to your chosen location to pick up your barrel. And remember to leave room in your car! Solana Center officials say that barrels fit easily in any four-door sedan or SUV and even into some two-door cars.

The Fallbrook pickup for rain barrels will be between 9 a.m. and noon, Saturday, Oct. 19, at the Mission Resource Conservation District at 130 E. Alvarado St. Pickups at the Solana Center in Encinitas will be between 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday’s through Thursdays, and noon on Saturdays.

It’s easy. Now you can start harvesting the rain, cutting costs and saving our beaches!

Gig Conaughton is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact