Rain barrels are a great way to capture and save rain that falls on your roof. And they can help reduce stormwater runoff that can pollute our waterways.
There are pre-made rain barrels available, but you can also build your own. A 55-gallon plastic drum is the best container. Make sure to get one that's been used to hold food or other non-toxic materials.
The simplest system is to put the barrel under a downspout and let gravity do its thing. Install a faucet about 6 inches from the bottom to access the water and use the stored water to irrigate your plants during dry spells. Make sure the rain barrel is covered with a screen or lid to keep mosquitoes from breeding in the water.
You can even decorate your rain barrel to fit your landscape. Many county Extension offices hold workshops on creating a rain barrel.
- When It Rains, It Stores (PDF)