There is this thing called Water Wednesdays. I'm not sure how it started or exactly what it is, but I've see people tweeting about #WaterWednesday on Twitter for the past several weeks. From the 2 minutes and 40 seconds of research that I did, I have deduced that it involves weekly gatherings over the summer in Memorial Park aimed at promoting water stewardship.
Well, I am happy to proclaim that I am doing my part. At least I am trying to...
I have a small vegetable garden in my yard.
|Proof: Beans from my garden|
My intention has been to water it, not with a garden hose, but with rain water collected in my rain barrel.
The rain barrel I got from one of those mad one-day sales that the City of Winnipeg holds every spring. In an effort to encourage sustainable living practices, the city sells rain collection barrels and compost bins at a discount, but only for one day a year and at a few locations around the city. This results in massive lines as people wait, hoping the barrels and bins don't run out before they get their chance to buy one. If you miss your chance to get one that morning, you have to wait another whole year for the next sale (or go to a store and buy one for regular price, but honestly, who would do that?)
I was fortunately able to score a rain barrel in one of these sales, but here's the thing: it's a piece of shit.
A few days after a good solid rain this spring I went to draw water from the barrel, but there was none to be drawn. It was empty. How can that be, I thought. Then after the next rain I tried again, and again it was empty.
The problem: a big crack in the base of the barrel.
I was able to find time on a weekend some weeks later to wash out the barrel and fix the crack using some "fix-all" type of glue that I have.
That problem was resolved and the rain barrel once again filled up with water. And then one morning about a week later as I was walking to the garage, I saw this:
|The weeds next to my rain barrel are doing very well this year.|
If you can't make out the image, it is water gushing out of the side of my rain barrel.
I could fix this leak too, but the barrel is only 2 years old. How many more leaks will there be in year 3, 4 or 5? In addition, the lid to the barrel is cracking from UV damage and the overflow hose is getting brittle and cracking as well.
At first I blamed myself. Maybe I mistreated it somehow. Maybe I was supposed to rub lotion on it every morning to protect it from the sun or something. I was full of regret for having neglected this barrel in some way, until I found out that somebody else I know with the same City of Winnipeg rain barrel had the same sort of cracks appear in theirs as well.
From this, I can only conclude that the rain barrels are pieces of crap.
The city's heart might be in the right place when they hold their annual barrel and bin sale, but their execution is flawed, firstly by making it such a pain in the ass to get one, and secondly by selling faulty barrels.
This Wednesday, as you pause to reflect on our sustainable use of water, ponder this: the rain barrels that the city is selling us to conserve water and preserve the environment are all going to end up in a landfill as big plastic pieces of junk that never did their job.