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'rainwater harvesting'

Dec 06

Rainwater: What’s It Made of, and Why Is It so Good for the Garden?

Posted to MMWD Blog: Think Blue Marin on December 6, 2016 at 2:24 PM by Ann Vallee

by Dan Carney, Water Conservation Manager

Marin is fortunate to have received 17.55 inches of rain at Lake Lagunitas since July 1—159% of average for this time of year and more rain is expected soon. Whether you like to sit and enjoy the sound of raindrops on the window, or splash in puddles, rain is good news for Marin. 

Rainwater is amazing stuff! According to researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, rain falling on the California coast is not pure H2O, but contains a mixture of particles including dust, carbon and nitrogen compounds, minerals, vegetative detritus and sea salt. It also has an average pH around 5.7, on the acidic side compared to pure H2O with a neutral pH of 7.0. But even with this mix of atmospheric particles, it is water of excellent quality.

What does this water chemistry mean for your landscape plants in Marin? The slightly acidic pH, low salt content, and dissolved nitrogen in rainwater create ideal conditions for making soil nutrients available to your plants. If you’ve ever noticed plants looking especially perky after a good rain, now you know why. 

How can you take full advantage of this liquid gold as it falls from the sky? The easiest way is to make sure that the rain falling on your property stays on your property. You can redirect roof drains into the landscape, create dry creek beds or rain gardens to encourage infiltration into the soil, and capture some of it in rain barrels to use on a sunny day. For more rainwater ideas, and to apply for a $50 rain barrel rebate, please visit MMWD’s Rainwater Harvesting webpage at
Aug 03

An Urban Farmer’s Paradise

Posted to MMWD Blog: Think Blue Marin on August 3, 2016 at 10:53 AM by Ann Vallee

poppy for blogMarin-Friendly Garden in Mill Valley

An urban farmer's paradise 1Aside from providing stunning visual appeal, this terraced garden in the hills is an urban farmer’s paradise! Initially inherited by the owner as a garden filled with fruit trees, in 2002 friends and neighbors were invited to begin using it as community garden. Now packed with many other thriving food crops (like garlic, onion, lettuce, and chard), the garden provides food for seven local families!

It also features some clever, unique creations: The solar panels not only provide energy, but are used to harvest rainwater. Captured water is stored in two 1100-gallon storage tanks and provides a nearby rose garden with several months of water during the irrigation season. Recycled coffee bags help with weed control and act as mulch, and owl and bat boxes attract creatures that naturally control pests such as rodents and mosquitoes. Chickens and bees also happily reside on the property. And below the colorful terraces, an old lawn was solarized and turned into a lovely patio area, using permeable fabric and gravel.

Learn more about the unique features of this Marin-Friendly garden in the video below, and scroll down for more photos.

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Jan 21

Rebates: Five New Ways to Save

Posted to MMWD Blog: Think Blue Marin on January 21, 2015 at 3:25 PM by Ann Vallee

Get paid to save with rebates from MMWD! We're offering five new ways to save water and money with rebates up to $50 each on pool covers, hot water recirculating systems, organic mulch, laundry-to-landscape system components, and rain barrels. Purchase and install more than one for up to $250 in rebates for all five! Find details at

Thanks to James Jackson, Anh Le, and Nick Ambe of Ex'pression College who produced this video.