A local conservation organization is putting an artistic spin on sustainable water practices. The Jackson Purchase Foundation partnered with the City of Paducah, West Kentucky Community and Technical College, and students at Paducah Tilghman High School to implement Water Smarter! The Artistic Rain Barrel Partnership Project. The students designed and painted rain barrels that will be auctioned off tonight at the Clemens Fine Arts Center.
JPF Watershed Coordinator Maggie Morgan says proceeds will be used to help expand the program to other high schools in the region.
“One way we thought the community would become more interested in rain barrels is if they were a little bit prettier than your plain black 55 gallon barrel,” Morgan said. “Water is pretty abundant for us, so we don’t think to much about conserving it. We’ve got a lot of surface water, a lot of ground water. But we do still need to do our part in this region. And I hope this project has shown the students that and made them interested, and hopefully their families and parents as well.”
Morgan says rain barrels conserve water and help prevent runoff pollution by reducing the amount of water that picks up litter, manure, chemicals, and fertilizers on its way to streams and rivers. JPF says a rain barrel can save most homeowners about 1,300 gallons of water during the peak summer months.
Paducah Storm Water and Drainage Engineer Eric Hickman says rain barrels also help reduce the quantity of water entering Paducah’s inundated storm water system. He says “every little bit counts” when it comes to freeing up the system’s capacity. Hickman says the city sponsored the project to help meet Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Permit requirements of public education and outreach, public involvement, and good housekeeping and pollution prevention.
The auction will run from 6:00 p.m. to 8 p.m. at WKCTC's Clemns Fine Arts Center.