Newsom Launches Rainwater Harvesting Initiative

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has launched a new citywide initiative promoting "rainwater harvesting" -- the collection and reuse of rainwater for non-drinking purposes like outdoor irrigation and indo

or toilet use, according to an Oct. 9 press release.

"Rainwater harvesting is a simple, safe, and sustainable way to help conserve our precious drinking water supplies, green our city and protect our environment," said Newsom. "This initiative alone won't end the drought or fix our climate crisis, but reviving this ancient practice can be part of the solution to our modern challenges."

"A 60-gallon rain barrel is really just a starting point for most people," said SFPUC General Manager Ed Harrington. "We're hoping that as people get more comfortable with the concept, they will want to add more rainbarrels or install a larger rainwater harvesting system to fit their needs."

Newsom signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), the Department of Public Health, and the Department of Building Inspection clarifying the standards for permissible rainwater harvesting systems and reuse of rainwater for non-drinking water uses without treatment.

To jumpstart the new initiative, Newsom also announced a new pilot program offering San Franciscans their first fully outfitted 60-gallon rain barrel at a steeply discounted price of $69.99. The $60 discount was made possible through a subsidy provided by the SFPUC and a price reduction by Cole Hardware.

Residents can visit www.BigBlueBucket.org for more information.

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