Rain Catchment System

The basics of water catchment is simple.  When it rains, water hits your roof, falls into the gutter, then washes away from the house.  With rain catchment, we want to divert that water into containers for use later.  There are a few ways to do this.  Lets start with what you will need.

Containers:  55 Gallon Barrels are a perfect container for a small rain catchment system.  IBC Totes are perfect for large systems.  While not cheap, they are not that expensive and hold enough water for most people.   You can also get 500+ Gallon Tanks.  A couple of these and you’ll never have to worry about water again.

Gutter Guards:  You don’t want leaves and other debris in your water and your first line of defense will be a screen over the gutters.  You can pay all the money and get a Leaf Guard system or go to the local home improvement store which should will carry some kind of gutter filter.

PCV Pipe:  You’re going to need a bunch of this, fittings and plumber’s glue.  Get enough to connect all of your barrels twice and enough for a first and second flush system.


Last summer, I took a trip to the not so local dairy farm.  There I got, for free, 11 x 275 gallon IBC totes and 10 of the 55 gallon barrels.  Three of the totes had holes in them but, I can still use them for parts or outdoor aquaponics systems.  Add in the (10) 55 gallon barrels I already had and I can put away some water.  About 3,300 gallons.  Plenty for everything I have planned.

I want to put them on top of the hill in the back yard to help with water pressure but, I have to keep them under the gutter system so the rain will go into them.  This means that I have to dig them down about a foot into the ground.  Our ground is very hard about 1″ under the surface but, it has to be done.  Luckily, the hill slopes gradually to the right so, I have to dig less for each tote to keep them level.

The totes are white and leaving them that way will promote algae growth.  You want to have your rain barrels block out the sun.  That is why most of them are blue or black.  I have decided that I will paint them black instead of wrapping them in something.  By making them black, the sun will help heat the water.  I also have a solar water heater that I plan on putting in the mix somewhere.

I look at these tote everyday out my office window and they are an eye sore.  After I have them installed, I will plant some vine crops and let them grow up the cages.  Food plus concealment equals win.

The next step in the process is to clean the outside of the totes with the pressure washing The Wife borrowed from a co-worker then, paint the totes.  Next will be digging the holes.  I am not looking forward to that part at all.

I will update this page with videos of my progress so, stay tuned.