Rain barrels sell out in south Ottawa

SEE VIDEO http://www.ottawasun.com/2011/04/30/rain-barrels-sell-out-in-south-ottawa

The hottest ticket in Barrhaven is a rain barrel.

Gary Lang was adding his name to a waiting list at Ross’ Independent Saturday afternoon.

“When they come in, if I get one, fine. If I don’t, bottled water,” he said, laughing.

“I’ll come back Tuesday. If there’s some, there’s some. If there’s none, there’s none.” He’s one of hundreds who missed the early morning madness at the grocery store’s garden centre.

With an outdoor water ban, rain barrels are selling faster than owner Ken Ross can count them.

“Within about 22 minutes of unloading the truck… 495 were already sold,” said Ross.

Ross is charging $50 –losing about $4 per barrel– and he’s also selling water jugs at a discount to help customers cope with the ban.

But not everyone wants a barrel.

“I feel that it’s a little overexpensive,” said Bruce Sherk.

“Just put some mulch down…we’re going to have a wet, wet season this year.” And Sherk has a bigger problem.

“I have like four bottles, big bottles of car wash. I was going to save money and wash the cars this year. That’s not going to happen.” He’s got a backup plan.

“My son lives in Kanata so I’ve made it a deal with him so we’ll be washing cars in Kanata,” he said.

Back in Barrhaven, Coun. Jan Harder said city staff are doing their best to get the message out, and visibility is key.

“I recommended at our SWAT meeting this morning that we put some signs specific to ‘Outdoor water ban-Barrhaven,’” she said.

But some residents are watering their lawn anyway.

“People need to understand this is a public health issue. It’s about safety for your family,” Harder said, adding indoor water could be compromised.

“Just imagine, what would you do if 27,000 homes did not have the ability to have a shower?” Ross, an avid gardener, also lives in Barrhaven and said he has his rain barrels.

He’s hoping people play by the rules.

“If we’re in it together, get through it together, then hopefully we’ll be able to enjoy the back part of the summer with our water restored,” he said.

Ross’ next shipment is Tuesday or Wednesday.

Lang is thinking strategy if he gets there and the barrels are sold out again.

“I can always drive to Kemptville or some place where there’s no water shortage,” said Lang.

kelly.roche@sunmedia.ca

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