The city of Waxahachie and the Ellis County Master Gardeners are working together to assist residents in becoming water wise. A rainwater harvesting class will be held at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 20 at the Parks and Recreation Building.

“For a long time there has been an initiative in the horticultural society to use less water and use more drought tolerant plants. The master gardeners have developed a class in conjunction with the city to teach people about water conservation,” Smith said. “We have offered the classes a few times before and they have been very successful. The people come and they learn about water conservation and they learn how to create a (rain) barrel, to install it at home and to use it.”

The cost of the class is $30 per person. All materials will be provided, and at the end of class each participant will take home a completed 55-gallon rain barrel. The class takes about two hours and 30 minutes will be spent constructing a barrel.

A hole is cut at the top of the barrel with saber saw to fit a clay gardening pot that contains a mesh screen which acts as a filter. The end of the downspout extender is then placed in the pot. Rocks are placed in the pot to hold everything in place.

At the bottom of the barrel a water faucet is attached where a hose can be connected.

The barrels are placed around the down spouts of gutters. To effectively use the barrel at home it is recommended that the barrel be placed on cinder blocks so that there is room to fill a watering can underneath the faucet.

If students do not wish to build a barrel there will be some finished barrels available. Space is limited to 20 participants on a first come, first served basis.

According to the AgriLife Extension office implementing rainwater harvesting techniques directly benefits the state by reducing demands on the water supply, and reducing run-off, erosion, and contamination of surface water.

In many communities, 30 to 50 percent of the total water is used for landscape irrigation.

“It is very important to conserve water and to use other water sources than the main water supply from the city of Waxahachie,” Smith said. “Our lake supplies an adequate amount of water and we want to figure out ways of catching the rainwater off our roof.”

Those interested may register in person at City Hall, 401 S. Rogers, in the Utility Billing Department downstairs.

The Parks and Recreation Building is located at 401 S. Elm St.

For more information, contact John Smith, Parks and Recreation Director, at 972-937-7330, ext. 181, or Amy Hollywood, Community Relations Manager, at 972-937-7330, ext. 284.

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