Sustainable Solano hosted its first rainwater barrel collection workshop, sponsored by the Solano County Water Agency, this month with a successful turnout of Vallejo residents interested in harvesting every drop possible during the rainy season. The workshop offered an informative lecture about the state’s current water situation, various rain harvesting methods and hands-on training on how to build a home rain barrel system.

Diablo Valley College (DVC) Horticulture Department instructor Steve Torres stressed the importance of conserving water during these wetter months and as 63% of California’s population is still being impacted by the recent drought (

On average, each person uses about 80-100 gallons of water per day. Rainwater harvesting can significantly help reduce use of potable water within the household and gardens. Techniques used for collecting, storing and using rainwater for landscape irrigation and other uses include roof catchment, gutter and downspouts, storage containers (cisterns, barrels, etc.) and disperse water.

Attendees participated in the construction of a barrel system using recycled plastic containers. Clean, untreated wooden wine barrels may also be used for catchment. Rain barrels were available for purchase and participants were provided their very own USB flash-drive containing over 100 bonus slides of photos and detailed descriptions of how to build all rainwater capture methods covered in this workshop.