El Niño May Be Around the Corner. Are You Prepared?

El Niño may be around the corner come this fall’s rainy season, and scientists are predicting even greater storms than 1997—which flooded Southern California. After four years of severe drought, that is welcome news!

However, it’s important to ensure we’re prepared to capture the stormwater and store it responsibly. Any rainwater harvesting system starts with rain gutters and downspouts. With summer upon us, we’re here to help you get ready for fall – and what may fall from the sky. This is the perfect time to tidy up and ensure that all your elements are in good shape.

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Rain Gutters & Downspouts

  1. Check the surrounding trees. Lightly prune branches or greenery that may be blocking gutters.
  2. Use a broom or wet/dry vacuum to clean out all the leaves and debris clogging the gutters or downspouts.
  3. Adjust the screens at downspouts.
  4. Pour water into the gutter and check for leaks. Make repairs as necessary.
  5. Check for low spots or sagging gutters. Are there sections where water might collect? Add extra supports, and repair rusty spots.
  6. Are your downspouts secure? Reinforce them with caulk or sheet metal screws. This is especially important with strong storms ahead!

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Rain Barrels

  1. Empty your rain barrels completely into your garden.
  2. Using a hose, clear out any organic matter build-up. This will keep your harvested water fresh, longer.
  3. Inspect the barrel. Are there leaks in the body or valves? Repair as needed.
  4. Check your surroundings. In the case of overflow, will the water drain away from structures? Will it be captured by a watershed garden, to prevent it from flowing onto pavement or neighboring properties?
  5. Test your barrels’ earthquake straps and footing! It’s important for these to be secure in case of an emergency.
  6. Repair holes or tears in the mosquito screen. If necessary, replace the filter.

Once these steps are complete, you’re all set. Congratulations! Pour yourself some lemonade and enjoy your summer—while it lasts!

Hungry to learn more? Join us for one of our Green City Workshops to learn everything you need to know about rainwater harvesting, native plants and turf reduction. Visit our calendar for upcoming dates.

Erika Abdelatif is TreePeople’s Social Media and Digital Content Manager. When she isn’t creating a climate-resilient LA via the Facebook, she’s probably writing in a coffee shop, infesting the internet with memes, or watching an open mic.