JRA encourages people to conserve water and save money

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The James River Association is encouraging people to conserve water. It could also save you some money. It's starting up a new program called River Hero Homes to help people limit river pollution.

Whitney Holt lives near the James River. She's doing her part by collecting water with a rain barrel in her front yard. It's full after last night's storm.

Holt uses her barrel to water her plants and trees in the front yard. This saves on her water bill, and keeps runoff from flowing into the river.

"We noticed a big difference," said Holt.

Water Restoration Project Manager, Michelle Kokolis, says positioning a rain barrel under a gutter is the best way to collect all that water which would otherwise go unused.

"They fill up really quickly," said Kokolis. "That storm that we had last night would have filled my barrel in probably half an hour, so you can get a lot of water really fast."

People interested in the River Hero Homes project can actually log onto a website and see what pollutants are in their water. They can fill out an application showing what green project they're interested in. Some options include: installing rain barrels, rain gardens that collect water at the bottom of a hill, or surfaces that allow water to naturally soak into grass or plants. This may cost more at first. Kokolis says the long term benefit pays off.

"Putting in pervious pavers is more expensive than laying concrete, but environmentally, you're making a much bigger impact," Kokolis added.

It's an initiative that Whitney Holt supports. She'd like to see more neighbors jump on board as they start their yard work this season.

Once you complete the online application, you get some perks including a garden flag and even discounts at some local nurseries. If you live in Richmond, Kokolis says you may even get a credit on your storm water bill. You will need to contact the city first.

For more information saving money and learning more about River Hero Homes, click here.

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