Wednesday, December 1, 2010

2011 Regional Energy Sustainability Summit & Fair

We have been asked to participate again this year in the Energy Sustainability Fair and will have great deals again on our Wichita Rain Barrels. We are still waiting to find out about the great deal the City of Wichita has gotten for you but I do know it will be well worth the time to come on down and participate in the Summit and Fair. We are also do a presentation on rain barrels this year and will have some great hand outs to distribute. We are really excited and hope to see you there! Click on the title and go check out the cities "Green Wichita" page!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Winterizing your Rain Barrel

I received my first question last week about winterizing a rain barrel. It was kind of a weird question and became apparent to me quickly that this person had purchased a rain barrel from a competitor when they said that they could not get all the water out of the rain barrel. WICHITA RAIN BARRELS are made to be left in place all year, even in the winter. As long as a short piece of hose is connected to the spigot AND the spigot is left open you will have no problems. I have left mine in place for over 4 years now and have had no problems. 

Last year we performed our first long term winter experiment. We let one of our Wichita Rain Barrels filled all winter. We let it freeze and then every day for a week would go out and break the ice up by hitting the side of the rain barrel with a hammer. We did this for a few reasons, first we wanted to test the integrity of the rain barrel in extreme weather, and second we wanted to make sure that it was frozen solid. The water did freeze solid and the barrel did expand but nothing broke. We do not recommend treating your own barrels this way.

Our recommendation for winterizing all WICHITA RAIN BARRELS is to keep them in place all year. In November when the temperature begins to creep toward freezing, empty the rain barrel and make sure to keep the spigot OPEN for the winter. Attach a short length of hose to the spigot, making sure that the end is pointed into an area of your yard that will not be effected by some extra water. I have ours go to a bush and a tree. We recommend doing this to make sure on any drainage from your roof does not end up in your basement, crawlspace or near any place that it could create damage.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Mrs. N's Duel Wichita Rain Barrel Setup

Mrs "N"'s son called us up last weekend and wanted some information about our systems. After consulting with them at there home we determined that one of our Duel Rain Barrel set ups would be ideal for the situation that they had. Here is a picture of the set up, and the awesome metal stands made by RED FENCE FARMS in Hutchinson KS.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Another Customers set up

Here is what she has to say about her set up:  "I have used my rain barrels for two months and really like them.  Our city bills water in 100 unit (about 750 gallon) increments.  My last water bill showed ZERO use (that means I used less than 750 gallons that month, because of the supplement of the rain barrels.  Ordinarily I use around 1500 gallons and the previous bill, I used more than 3000 gallons. Also using the rain barrels made me think about my water consumption and I did water conservation in other ways, just to do a test to see how much I would use.  And I did it without feeling like I was "deprived" of water. "

Thursday, October 7, 2010


About a year and half ago I was contacted by Tom Spargo, one of the inventors of the Rain Saucer. We started talking about some alternative options for collecting rain water other than using the standard roof from your home or shed. Tom and a few other people began experimenting with some designs and have now moved into the experimental phase of production of their Rain Saucer. The goal for Tom was to collect rain water for people living out in the world that have very limited access to it and that are dependent on it to survive. Here is the blog:

Check it out! There hard work will be life changing for a lot of people around the world!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Are you needing something to do over the lunch hour?

Are you needing something to do over the lunch hour? Botanica has lunch time lectures AND Wichita Rain Barrels will be there tomorrow! We will talk about our history of how we got started and what we are doing now! It is sure to be a riveting lecture! We will also be offering a special deal for anyone in attendance!  Click on the link above to get to Botanica's website, check out what else is going on here in WICHITA.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Two more AWSOME custome painted Wichita Rain Barrels!

Here are two more Custom painted Wichita Rain Barrels. This customers some did these for her and I have been told he is ready to do more. I can pass along contact info to him if any my customers are interested in having theirs painted up.

Here are several shots from customers this summer.

The first 2 are from Mr & Mrs P. They have a very unique rain barrel set up on their second floor balcony. We were able to do a custom Wichita Rain Barrel for them. We used a 35 gallon barrel and had a custom made stand too.

These next several shots are from Mr & Mrs W. Mr W. bought his first one as a anniversary gift and then wanted a second one! Here is what they wrote me, "While others may have been sad about the rain over the 4th of July, we rejoiced because of our new rain barrels. We love them. It makes us feel like responsible environmentalist, in addition to our composting and recycling efforts".on to our composting and recycling efforts".

Monday, June 28, 2010

Wichita water supply lines are at their limit Read more:

Wichita water supply lines are at their limit


The Wichita Eagle


If Wichita were to enter a drought this summer, it couldn't provide enough water for all the thirsty plants, dirty cars and loads of laundry out there.
The city is permitted to draw 240 million gallons of water a day from Cheney Reservoir and a local well field, which is plenty.
But its aging and underdeveloped infrastructure can process and deliver only a bit more than half of that — 130 million gallons a day.
That's not enough to meet demands of the city in a long, dry summer, much less during a prolonged drought.
"If a drought were to start right now, we've got the water rights to handle it with the population we have in Wichita," said Deb Ary, Wichita's superintendent of production and pumping. "We don't really have the infrastructure to handle it safely."
Wichita has had several years of wet weather — including the record-breaking 53.8 inches of rain in 2008. Climatologists say drought is nearly impossible to predict, but that from a historical perspective, Wichita is due.
"Historically, we have had patterns of wet and dry and they tend to run on a 20-year cycle," said state climatologist Mary Knapp. "We've had our wet period and we've had our dry period. So the question is, do you want to have the expectation that you'll continue in a wet pattern when you have historical evidence you'll have a dry pattern?"
Wichita also has to worry about those hot summer days when the city often has its peak demand for water.
A recent study by the city's water consultant, HDR Engineering Inc., found that the city is 4 million gallons a day short of being able to supply local water customers on the highest water use day of the year.
And by 2041, the city won't have enough water for even average days.
If the city thinks it is close to running short, it would likely ask people to voluntarily use less water. If that doesn't work, it would likely impose mandatory restrictions.
The potential for shortage highlights a complicated and frustrating dynamic as Wichita hikes its water rates, effective Thursday:
People are using less water, but the price of water will probably continue to rise.
Supply and demand
Wichita once drew most of its water from the Bentley and Equus Beds well fields north of the city.
But in 1993 it began using Cheney Reservoir more because it had drawn down groundwater levels in its well field.
The aquifer recharges during a rain. But the city was pumping water out faster than nature could put it back in through rains.
That created another problem.
A salty plume of groundwater caused by oil exploration is slowly moving toward the Equus Beds Aquifer. As the groundwater level dropped, it accelerated the flow of contaminated water toward the city's water wells.
The city devised a $550 million recharge project to pump water out of the little Arkansas River, treat it, and put it back into the aquifer, hoping that raising the groundwater levels would push the saltwater away from the city's wells.
Today, Cheney provides 65 to 75 percent of the local supply and the Equus Beds contribute 25 to 35 percent.
Farmers, industry and other cities also draw from the aquifer. The state has issued water rights that allow people to take out more water than nature can put back in.
It's simply overappropriated, said Tim Boese, manager of Groundwater Management District 2, which includes Wichita's well fields.
About 550,000 people depend on the groundwater in District 2's 1,406-square-mile area.
Here's how it's split up:
* Irrigation of crops: 50 percent
* Cities: 24 percent
* Industrial use: 13 percent
* Recreational and other uses: 3 percent
About 10 percent is pulled away by river systems.
For the moment, there's plenty of water to go around, mostly because of several rainy years, Boese said.
"But eventually the city will have to pump their entire rights out of the aquifer," he said. "Eventually, we'll have another drought."
Boese is part of the Wichita Water Utilities Advisory Committee that recommended that the City Council go ahead with the next phase of the aquifer recharge project that can pump 30 million gallons a day back into the ground.
That's water that can be used in the future.
But it's also essential to stopping contaminated groundwater leftover from salt mining and oil field production from flowing into the well field and farming wells.
That appears to be working — the salty flow has slowed by about a third, according to HDR's report.
But the plume is still inching its way near the edge of the well field.
Not everyone agrees that the city should press forward with the next step in the recharge project given its affect on water rates.
HDR recommended the city reduce the size and cost of the project, at least initially.
But City Council members recently approved the rate hikes based on the full-scale aquifer recharge, noting that the difference came down to only about 11 cents a month for average residential users.
Vice Mayor Jeff Longwell opposed the hike, which will cost the average household about $2.91 more a month this year and $4.19 more a month next year over current rates.
He said continued conservation and more-efficient irrigation and industrial cooling systems may drastically reduce the city's long-term needs.
"It seems we're setting ourselves up for future burdens for the rate payers," he said.
Fixing pipes
A few fixes could help Wichita meet its projected needs in the short term.
One is installing larger air valves in the pipe that carries water from Cheney Reservoir to Wichita.
It was made to carry 80 million gallons a day — but undersized air valves limit its use to 72 million gallons a day.
Another is replacing the pipe that runs from the Bentley well field to the city so that it can carry up to 30 million gallons more a day.
For example, average daily consumption is expected to grow from about 67 million gallons today to 101 million gallons in 2050.
Peak demand, which usually happens on a summer day, is expected to climb from 133 million gallons to 201 million gallons in 2050.
Many ideas for new water sources have been proposed. The most prominent lately has been the potential to pipe water from El Dorado Lake, a reservoir about 30 miles northeast of Wichita.
City Manager Robert Layton said leaders from both cities are trying to arrange a meeting to discuss possibilities.
"I'm not so much concerned about what would happen today under (drought and maximum use days)," said Layton. "You're just barely short today. And you can handle the worst-case scenarios with conservation."
But he said the city needs to focus on the trends and make sound decisions so that enough affordable water is available for years to come.


Remember 1 inch of rain on 1000 SQ FT roof  equals 623 gallons of FREE water......

Friday, June 11, 2010

WRB will be at LIV FEST 2010! Great music and RAIN BARRELS

WRB will be set up and rocking out on June 19th at LIV FEST. 

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Wichita water rates may increase

Wichita water rates may increase


The Wichita Eagle

Wichita's water outlook

Current water supply:
124 million gallons a day
Average water use:
67 million gallons a day
Maximum amount needed in 2025 during a drought:
157 million gallons a day
Possible future sources of water
* Buy water from El Dorado Reservoir
* Expand well field near Riverside Park
* Ask industry to use treated sewage water for manufacturing and cooling
* Increase amount taken from Cheney Reservoir
* Pump water out of the Arkansas River
* Require more water conservation to reduce demand
The city proposes increasing water rates by 7.5 percent and sewer rates by 10 percent this year and 8 percent on water and sewer rates next year.
Wichita water and sewer customers could see a nearly 9 percent rate increase on their monthly bills later this summer, an 8 percent hike next year and smaller jumps in years to come.
For average residential customers, that translates to $2.91 more per month this year and $4.19 more per month next year over current rates.
Meanwhile, the city is exploring ideas to find cheaper sources of water long-term, like buying water from
El Dorado Reservoir and having big industrial companies use treated wastewater for manufacturing and irrigation.
The proposed rate hikes come from a report released Wednesday by HDR Engineering Inc., which the city hired earlier this year after learning its water utility was headed toward financial failure.
A major part of the problem is that the city isn't selling enough water to pay for the $550 million Equus Beds Aquifer recharge project meant to ensure a long-term water supply.
In addition to rate hikes, HDR proposes slowing down the city's recharge project to put off about $35.8 million in expenses over the next several years.
If the city doesn't expand its water supply and find a way to pay for it the area could face water shortages by 2040, or much sooner if a severe drought occurs.
And if the city drops the aquifer recharge project, it runs the risk of having one of its main sources of water contaminated.
A salty plume of groundwater caused by oil exploration is slowly moving toward the Equus Beds Aquifer that the city relies on for more than a quarter of its water.
Putting river water into the aquifer to raise the groundwater levels around the city's wells is supposed to keep the saltwater from reaching the water wells.
While a steep rate increase seems inevitable this year, a lot could change before additional hikes start.
City Manager Robert Layton said he'll recommend that City Council members approve the increases on June 15 on the condition that the city conduct more thorough rate analysis.
Layton said that could lead to a new rate structure that charges heavy water users more and encourages conservation.
It could be months before any new rate structures emerge, but they will have to avoid pitfalls of the past.
Though the years, the city has tried encouraging conservation through water rates and public education.
But the city didn't properly account for the declines in water use for the past three years that stem from a combination of exceptionally rainy weather, the recession and consumer conservation.
A new rate structure "addresses what we keep hearing from the public," Layton said. "And that is: 'I conserve water and then the city's projections go south and therefore I'm being penalized for conserving.' "
Among other possible changes outlined include:
* Rehabilitating and expanding water wells along the Arkansas River near Riverside Park.
* Skimming water off the Arkansas River after heavy rain and treating it with reverse osmosis.
* Reducing water pressure to cut down on pipe breaks, leaks and the amount of water wasted when people leave faucets running.
Even more drastic changes could be on the horizon.
El Dorado connection
Mayor Carl Brewer said that he's withholding judgment on the rate increases and other proposals for the moment.
He said only: "I want to do everything in our power to keep our water rates down."
But he's confident in the Wichita area's long-range supply.
He and Layton plan to meet with El Dorado City Manager Herb Llewellyn and Mayor Tom McKibban within a month to talk about possibly tapping into El Dorado Reservoir about 30 miles northeast.
That idea was explored in 2000 but was never acted on.
Llewellyn said the reservoir supplies about 75 percent of Butler County with water and is "very underutilized."
"There is lots and lots of water just flowing to the Gulf of Mexico," he said.
In 2000, Professional Engineering Consultants examined the possibility of El Dorado treating and piping water to Wichita.
The study showed a start-up cost of $32 million to pump 10 million gallons a day.
Llewellyn said El Dorado already has plans for a pipeline and water tower to distribute water to parts of western Butler County and that it could be expanded to serve Wichita.
But both Wichita and El Dorado officials say the idea is very preliminary, and they haven't yet had any serious discussions.
Brewer said he is interested in exploring it.
"At the end of the day, it's not about how much the city of Wichita is selling or how much El Dorado sells," he said. "It's about the future, 50 years from now. Do we have enough water to be able to meet the needs of Kansans and people within this region?"


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Garden Wars 2010!

OK,OK this has nothing to do with Wichita Rain Barrels but I couldn't resist! Check it out and let me know what you think! there are 2 links one to an acquaintance of mine from high school (GO EAST HIGH) who is blogging this link: and then the link from the title will take you to the Richmond Virginia HQ site.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Wichita Rain Barrels is having a sale! All of our duel rain barrels are on sale and ready to go. We have 4 sets to choose from. The white set is 150.00 and the 3 painted sets are 175.00(thats a 75.00 discount) It is a first come first serve kinda deal so drop us a line and reserve one today!

oh yeah............... have you seen our composter?
It makes compost in approximately 15 to 20 days! It heats up to around 120 to 130 degrees!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Photos of some new Wichita Rain Barrels!

Here are the three painted ones the the artist, Michael Hunter has done. He is about to move to Alaska for some crazy reason (has to do something with a woman) So when these are gone......there gone!

L.A. recycles rain to protect its ocean

L.A. recycles rain to protect its ocean

Los Angeles is encouraging residents to recycle rainwater to prevent runoffs from polluting the ocean. The city also wants to impose fees on developers who fail to utilize the rain. Jennifer Collins reports.

Bob Moon: As we speak this morning, rain is drenching us here in Los Angeles. Much of the water usually runs into the ocean, but officials want to get individual developers to catch the water and recycle it. And L.A.'s effort is becoming a model. From the Sustainability Desk, Marketplace's Jennifer Collins reports.

Jennifer Collins: Sherri Akers has a secret weapon when it comes to her garden:

Sherri Akers: I'll just take water from the rain barrel. Take a bucket.

Akers shows off a 55-gallon plastic barrel in the backyard of her L.A. home. The city gave it to her as part of a pilot program to use more of the rain that falls.

Akers: To water my potted plants. This is a dwarf blood red orange tree.

Normally, when the clouds open up, rain falls on her orange tree. But it also washes off streets and driveways and gets channelled to the ocean. The city wants to prevent that.

Paula Daniels: It's the number one source of pollution to the ocean.

Paula Daniels is a commissioner on L.A.'s board of public works. She says the city is considering making developers build in a way to catch rainwater, and among other things, redirect it to the water table below.

Daniels: It's about trying to change the way we work the landscape and keep the runoff on the property as much as possible.

Daniels says developers could easily do that with planted areas, cisterns or pavement that filters water instead shuttling it to the drains. This could help recycle water in the drought-stricken area.

Daniels: We will take the burden off of having to import water from Northern California.

If developers can't catch the water, the city will charge them a fee, that on a large construction site could total more than $200,000.

Bill Davis: They're looking for money.

Bill Davis is with the Southern California Contractors Association. Davis says the city's desperate for money, and this is a sure-fire way to raise it. He says the contractors he works with aren't trained to meet these kinds of requirements.

Davis: We know how to handle the water, what we don't know is how to keep it on a job site instead of sending it someplace.

Davis says the additional fees will cripple an already battered construction industry. Still, Philadelphia and the state of Maryland are forging ahead with similar requirements.

I'm Jennifer Collins for Marketplace.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Show Schedule to find WICHITA RAIN BARRELS

We have had a busy spring so far and its not over yet. We have already had the Garden Show and TREE FEST but we are doing two new shows this year outside of Wichita. We are going to be at the 2010 Harvey County Home and Garden Show April 10th and 11th. It is set up inside the National Guard Armory at 400 N Grandview in Newton.  And then two weeks later we will be set up at the 8th Annual Gardens in Bloom Event in Wellington at Raymond Frye Complex 320 North Jefferson. We will also be set up May 1st at the Sedgwick County Extension Center for HERB day.

Harvey County Home and Garden Show-
Annual Gardens in Bloom Event-
Herb Day-

We will be participating in several presentations so please come out and ask us some questions!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Another Hydroponics set up!

Here is an email I received not to long ago from the hydroponics guy.

Hey Peter,
I just wanted to shoot you an email, my wife and I dropped by to say hello Sunday at the Garden Show (if you can remember, HA). I'm also the guy who wrote you all the DIY hydroponic stuff for your blog last summer. 

Well.. long story short, my wife and I started a little home gardening business.  We are selling tomato and pepper transplants,and an auto-watering gardening container (which is why I'm writing you).  It's similar in size and shape to the "earthbox", but it has something that the earthbox hasn't thought of yet - a TRUE auto-watering container, no manual refilling required.  You attach the container to a garden hose, either supplied by a rain barrel or wall spigot, and a valve in the container shuts the water off automatically when it's full.  It also has a couple PVC tubes that run horizontally through the soil compartment (with holes in them) that help to aerate the soil and reduce water logged soil.  With a splitter at the supply end, and a few extra garden hoses you could do up to 4 (maybe more?) containers on one supply (rain barrel). 

I think what you are doing is great, for the environment and the economy, and I'd like to work with you to create some synergy to help both of us out.  I was thinking about adding a link to each others pages, maybe special deals (example: if someone bought a container they'd receive a coupon for a barrel and vice versa), or a joint venture at a flea/farmers market. Please email me back at and we can talk about some of the specifics.

Oh and if you want to check out our site it's

Talk to you soon,
Joseph Nestelroad

Friday, February 5, 2010

Need a stand for your Wichita Rain Barrel

Need a stand for your Wichita Rain Barrel? Well here is a good one to take a look at. I met Tom at the 2010 Energy and Conservation Fair earlier this month. He has shown a great entrepreneurial spirit and has assembled a sturdy stand. He came over and showed it to me when he picked up his two Wichita Rain Barrels and I was very impressed. I will have some on Display at the 2010 Garden Show March 3 through the 7th at Century Two. Look for us in EXPO hall, by the food court.

Follow the link to look at his stand!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

WRB on KNSS Radio with Johnson's Garden Center

Johnson's Garden Center has graciously supported Wichita Rain Barrels from the beginning. Marty asked me to swing by so that we could chat about WRB and the 2010 Regional Conservation and Energy Fair.
Click on the Title and sit back and enjoy!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Wichita Rain Barrels for sale for $25.00 2 days only!

The City of Wichita and Wichita Rain Barrels have teamed up for a Rain Barrel EXTRAVAGANZA!
On January 22 and 23rd I will be selling my Wichita Rain Barrels for 25.00! For 25.00 you will get my standard white rain barrel with the gutter attachment and the regular overflow hose! This is a great deal for anyone that is even 1/2 way interested in gardening...........

Heres how it will work. On the 22nd and 23rd of January at the 2010 Regional Energy & Sustainability Conference I will have a booth set up. The city will be handing out vouchers. The public can come down and pick up a voucher swing by my booth, hand me 25.00 and set up a date for delivery and then when I deliver the Rain Barrel you will give me the voucher. It is as simple as that......

Remember this is for 2 days only