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Rain Barrels Riverfest

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CODY, Wyo. -

Much of northwest Wyoming is a high desert, but most people don’t use rain barrels to conserve water. Cody’s Nature Conservancy wants to change that with a rain barrel auction at its second annual Wild West Riverfest in Cody.

With an average of less than ten inches precipitation each year, most of that in the form of snow, rain is relatively rare here. But on the eve of Cody’s second annual Riverfest, there was a drizzle all morning long, and even a drizzle can fill a barrel with water.

Xeriscape's Phil Anthony said, “If you consider the surface area of a whole roof, and if you’re able to collect that into one spot, then the volume of water gets multiplied by that.”

So, rain barrels collect a lot of water, even in a place without much rain. But, why should someone go to the trouble?

Anthony said, “There’s going to be a point, and we see it in California right now, where there won’t be enough water. So that any water resource we can salvage is going to be beneficial to us.”

That’s the point Cody’s Wild West Riverfest is trying to drive home that water is valuable. So, during the festival that celebrates the Shoshone River near downtown Cody, kids will paint rain barrels that will be auctioned.

Northwest Wyoming Nature Conservancy Director, Katherine Thompson explained, “We wanted to do something in the community that will encourage people to conserve water.”

The Riverfest kicks off with a Friday night party in Canal Park. Then at the Belfry Bridge public access Saturday morning, Thompson said, “We’ll have all kinds of family friendly river conservation activities that people can be engaged in . Then starting at 2 o’clock we’ll be up at the Hayden Arch bridge where we’ll have a kayak slalom.”

Riverfest organizers say there will be a concert Saturday night at City Park in downtown Cody.