Interviews

Rain Barrels

San Diego residents are capitalizing on the recent El Niño weather.  Some are able to double-dip and apply to receive up to $700 in free rain barrels, courtesy of the City of San Diego, and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

The funding for the rebate programs are available on a first-come, first served basis.

“I do know there’s a lot [of rebates being sent in], I am processing 10-30 checks a day, reviewing applications,” said Luis Generoso, Water Resources Manager for the City of San Diego.

As rain barrel usage increases in San Diego, so does the risk of maintaining them.

It is up to Generoso and his team to inspect the photos snail-mailed in, to make sure that the before-and-after depictions are in correspondence to the guidelines posted on the Water Conservation Program on the City of San Diego website.  After it’s approved, a rebate check is sent out approximately 6-8 weeks after.

Not all pass the visual test.San Diego, Water Barrel, Rebate, Green, Flood, El Niño

Holes in the barrel(s) are a red-flag, for obvious reasons; like a child or pet may get curious, fall inside and drown.

Smaller holes can also be hazardous.

“Standing water provides a place for mosquitoes to lay their eggs and mature into biting adults that can spread disease,” states the County of San Diego Department of Environmental Health website.

All mosquitoes need standing water to complete their life cycle.”

“Usually what they purchase are actual rain barrels, they already have the spigot (faucet) attached to it and they have the covers for it, so in terms of vector control, [mosquito and rodent,] there’s no problem,” Generoso said.

Some San Diegans are scared of the West Nile and Zika viruses, and for extra precaution, they add goldfish inside their rain barrels.

“Goldfish not only eat mosquito larvae to end their cycle, “John Smith” said, “their waste makes for great fertilizer.”

Smith appreciates his rain barrel set up at his Pacific Beach home, because in Colorado, where him and his roommate are originally from, capturing rain via rain barrels, is illegal.

Smith wouldn’t let [publication’s name goes here] take photos of his rain barrels in fear that the inspectors might notice the goldfish swimming in his barrels, and “renege on the rebate”.

“We could [inspect] if we notice something kinda like fishy,” Generoso said.

Author: Mike Madriaga