DIY Rain Harvesting and Water Conservation
Capturing rainfall gives you a chance to water your yard and gardens without relying on municipal resources. This can reduce the stress that your local environment experiences. By keeping more water above ground and in the ground, you can also benefit your local sewer district and reduce floods, which is good news for everyone in your community.
Make your own rain barrel
Rain barrels capture rainwater that lands on your roof. The water runs down the roof into your gutters. It then gets carried to a large plastic barrel that houses the water safely.
You can build your own rain barrel with basic tools and materials.
- Get a food grade plastic bin (you can often get them from food companies. Your local park or sewer district might also have them)
- Cut a hole in the top of the barrel.
- Run a connection from your downspout to the barrel’s hole.
- Attach a piece of mesh to the hole to filter out leaves, twigs, and other solid matter.
- Drill a small hole near the bottom side of the barrel.
- Screw a spout into the small hole.
Expand your rain barrel reserves
A rain barrel typically holds about 55 gallons. A good rainfall can fill it within minutes. Many people add more barrels, so they can capture more water.
This is a simple process. Get an additional barrel, and drill a hole near the top sides of both barrels. Connect them with a piece of tubing. When the first barrel fills, the overflow will go to the reserve barrel, giving you twice as much stored water.
Build a rain garden
Rain gardens redirect water so that it flows into the ground rather than the street or sewer. By keeping water in the soil, you create a great place for your garden, and you reduce the stress put on your community’s sewage system.
To make a rain garden, you need to find a spot that absorbs water readily. You can test this by digging a small hole, pouring water into the hole, and observing whether it soaks into the ground or stays on the surface. It’s best to choose an area that is slightly lower than the rest of your yard.
Create an outline for your garden so you know where plants will go. Then, dig a basin and a line so you can lay an inlet pipe that runs from your downspout to the garden. Fill the basin with dirt and plant vegetation that enjoys large amounts of water.
Within a short time, you’ll have a garden that waters itself and keeps your community healthier.
Install a cistern
If you want your whole home to rely on rainwater instead of municipal water, then you will probably need a cistern that can hold at least 200 gallons of water. This calculator will help you determine how much water your household uses, so you can determine what size cistern you need. Cisterns are essentially large rain barrels. Rain water that strikes the roof runs down spouts into the cistern.
Unlike rain barrels, cisterns need pumps to bring water into the house. Most modern homes with cisterns have electric pumps that keep the water flow seamless. That way, households don’t have to worry as much about interruptions.
This is one of the most expensive ways to capture rainfall, but it can lead to self-reliance. With the right system, you might never need municipal water, again.
What rainfall capturing systems appeal to you most? Why are you interested in capturing rainwater?