Santa Monica’s Office of Sustainability and the Environment will hold its first annual rainwater harvesting products showcase and sales event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, November 8th at Santa Monica Airport, 3050 Airport Ave. in Santa Monica.

Harvesting rainwater from rooftops helps protect the Santa Monica Bay from polluted runoff and reduces potable water demand, a sustainability office spokesperson says.

Rain barrels are the easiest and least expensive way to get started, according to office representatives.

Mar Vista held a similar water conservation event this year that featured rain barrels. Sherri Akers, co-chair of the Mar Vista Wise Water Use Expo, is happy that Santa Monica is holding its own event.

“I am excited about these programs — it is a huge first step,” said Akers, a green consultant. “We have to expand (the rail barrel program) beyond homeowners and reach the multi-unit residential. That is where we will make a huge difference.”

Cisterns are another alternative. Holding anywhere from hundreds to thousands of gallons, cisterns will be on display at the event.

Akers cited the success of the Mar Vista expo, where nearly 100 residents signed up for the rain barrel program, as evidence of their growing utility and popularity.

“Not only are we capturing water that we can use, we are capturing that all important first flush,” she wrote in her online blog. “Even if the rest of it overflows from our rain barrels, we have diverted the toxins that were on our roof and captured them.

“Then we let the earth do what it does best; We use that water in our gardens where the earth will filter it.”

The event is free to the public and rebates are available for all featured products.

Event updates are available at www.sustainablesm.org/.

Information, Neal Shapiro at (310) 458-8223, or neal.shapiro@smgov.net/.

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