Why Are They Important?
Rainwater harvesting systems are an important tool to prevent runoff, flooding, and pollution. These barrels collect water that runs off a home from the roof and gutters where it picks up pollutants from roof materials, animal waste, and debris. It then collects it and stores it for later use.
These systems can be rain barrels that collect 55 gallons, or giant tanks that store up to 5,000 gallons. The average rain barrel collection system costs around $120 to $160 to make.
This is a great tool to not only conserve water, but to save money on water bills and be more self sufficient. Please know this water is not safe to drink. Water that is collected can be used later during a drought, shortage, or any time, usually to water plants around the home or sometimes to do wash and flush toilets.
It's important we use every method to soak up stormwater runoff to prevent further pollution of our waterways.
Installing a Rooftop Rainwater Harvesting System (aka Rain Barrel)
There are many different ways to customize your water harvesting system. For example, there are pre-fabricated rain barrels available for purchase, however some can be more expensive than making your own. If you don't want to make your own barrel, try to purchase one during the winter when they go on sale.
There are also many different types of diverters. For example, you could connect your barrel directly to the down spout, but using a diverter allows the barrel to fill up without bypassing the downspout completely, so when it is full the water will flow normally (like into a rain garden!).
To prevent mosquitos from moving in, you will want to make sure your rain barrel has a screen. Not only will this prevent bugs from entering the water, but also other debris. These are just a few things to consider when designing your system.
To learn more about cost, large scale, filtration, and other awesome information about projects, please visit Rainwater Collection System by Fixr.
Step by Step Instructions
- Gather your tools and materials: 55 gallon barrel, Rain Barrel Diverter and Parts Kit ($30 at hardware store), hack saw, tape measure and drill.
- Choose your location: select a level area near a down spout that you can easily access for water harvesting. Elevating your barrel off the ground will provide more water pressure out of the faucet (1’ = 1/2 psi) and make it easier to use the water, especially with a hose.
- Mark and cut your downspout, then install the diverter.
- Mark and drill your barrel, then install drain spigot and the other end of the diverter.
- Use it to water your garden, for play and other projects.