Image of rain barrel and instructions for how to create one yourself.

DIY Rainwater Catcher

March and April were wetter than the early part of 2019, but with little rain in sight, we still haven’t reached average rain levels for this point in the year. Given the Golden State’s history with drought, we are constantly trying to find ways to conserve as much water as possible. Rainwater harvesting is an ancient practice, but it’s making a comeback and is more important than ever as a additional source of water for non-potable uses. Not only is collecting rainwater fun, but the fact that it’s a free source of water that can help you reduce your water bill is pretty great too. Here’s a quick DIY guide for your own rainwater catcher.

Probably one of the more common ways to collect water is through the use of a rain barrel or storage tank. Not only do rain barrels hold a large amount of water, but they’re relatively cheap to make as well. First you’ll need to purchase a large sized garbage can or plastic rain barrel. You can normally find these at your local gardening or hardware store. You’ll also need:

  • A Tube of Sealant or Teflon Tape

  • 2 Rubber Washers

  • 2 Metal Wasters

  • 1 Spigot

  • A Drill

  • Landscaping Fabric or Screen

  • Cinder blocks or other raised platform

You’ll then want to drill a hole towards the bottom of your barrel, this is where your spigot will go and it’s where you will collect your captured rainwater. Next, install the spigot and use your rubber and metal washers to prevent any leakage. A tube of sealant will help prevent leakage as well, but it’s main responsibility is to keep your spigot in place. Next, cut a hole in the lid of your barrel. Make sure the hole is large enough to accommodate the water flow from your home’s downspout and leave room for water overflow. Finally, place a piece of fabric or screen on top of the barrel to keep out pesky pests and debris from getting into your collected water. Now you’re ready for the rain!

There are many methods to collect water, but a rain barrel is an easy, effective way to harvest as much as possible. Rainwater is a free source of water to use in your garden and harvesting it promotes self-sufficiency and helps to conserve water. Here’s to the next big storm!

For more tips on creating your own rainwater harvesting system, check out these articles:

https://www.bhg.com/gardening/yard/tools/make-a-rain-barrel-save-water/

http://struckcorp.com/diy-rainwater-harvesting-systems/