Baby Step 5: Harvesting Rainwater in a Barrel

On our arid, suburban homestead the cost of water is an unwanted bill of burden.

To conserve water we harvest our rainwater off the roof and store it for future watering needs. We came across a couple of 35 gallon commercial trash barrels w/ lids. We purchased three more at a big-box hardware store for about $35 each.

The run off on the large gutter required three barrels that are connected and staged consecutively deeper than the last barrel. The smaller gutter needed two barrels to capture the run-off. We used a drill with 1/2 inch bit, jigsaw, tube of silicone and flex downspout connectors.

All together we harvest 160 gallons during a good rainstorm. We use the rainwater for our raised garden beds and fruit bushes. If the barrels are full and we know it is going to rain, we use the stored water for the grass. This saves us the cost of a city controlled watering day.

We purchased a portable sump pump with a garden hose connection and a nozzle for $50.

Empty rainwater barrels by simply connecting a hose to the pump, drop the pump into the barrel, plug it into an outlet and spray away.

This harvesting system paid for itself in less than two years. The durability of the barrels will allow monthly water bill savings for many more years.

Take your next baby step to life’s independence and make a rain water harvest collector today.  Save money while nourishing your plants with Mother Nature.

We will be sharing other water conserving ideas that we have been using on our 1/4 acre suburban homestead in future posts.    –  Jabbear



  1. Very cool. I’ve found a source of free 55-gallon poly barrels, one of which I’ve turned into a composting container. I’m planning on the others becoming a series of rainwater collection setups (among my many projects). My hope is to have two for the house, one for the barn, another for the equipment shed, and at least one back at the chicken coop/goat house, gravity-feeding drip waters in gardens, a hoop house (another future project) and possibly livestock.

    BTW – love the horsetails, just be careful with their toxicity if you bring larger livestock into the backyard mix.

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