As another dry year seems to drag on in Southwest Oklahoma, the City of Lawton has decided to get in on a little green technology, offering a rain barrel workshop.

Even though the last few weeks have been incredibly generous with rainfall, Lawton is still teetering between a state of severe and extreme drought. According to WeatherUnderground, we've only had a little over 14 inches of precipitation since January 1. Which does seem like a lot of rain, but only because it has happened so recently.

The obvious answer to the drought question is water rationing... but Lawton has been in Stage 2 water restrictions since March, and the water levels keep dropping.

The current estimate is that up to 50% of our tap water is currently going to watering lawns and gardens. I'm guilty of it myself, and it's ok to take care of your lawn. You don't need to cut back on watering, we just need to find an alternative source for that water.

The City of Lawton Stormwater Division is getting on board with new ideas in an upcoming, open to the public workshop on that very topic. Rain harvesting through the use of barrels. They are a great alternative source of water.

It will all happen at the Great Plains Coliseum during the upcoming Tomato Festival. The City of Lawton will be selling blue 55 gallon drums ($15), and 250 gallon tanks ($40) to the public... and anyone that buys either will get a short 'How-To' workshop showing them how to install it as a functional cistern to collect rain water. It's really a good thing.

The Tomato Festival is July 12th at the Comanche County Fairgrounds on Sheridan Road. Make plans to steal a deal, learn something new, and grow a little greener.

More information can be found online here.

Just in case you want to participate, but want something a little more astetically pleasing, you can find 'nicer' rain barrels at the various home improvement stores around Lawton.
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