Thursday, September 10, 2009

Rainwater harvesting systems

If you've been thinking about installing a rainwater collection system for use in a home landscape, now would the time to do it. Because of a stalled low pressure system and an area of disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico, it looks like Southeast Texas finally is going to be very wet for the next few days - at a minimum.

Rainwater collection is obviously a good practice on many levels, from conserving water to saving money. Long before water wells, people collected rainwater in cisterns and barrels, usually from roofs. All it takes is a surface area (roof), a way to channel it (gutters and downspout) ad a receptacle (barrel, bucket, tank). The container needs to be food-safe and clean and ideally, will have a spigot for easy access. Be aware that asbestos shingles are not a good choice and old gutters could contain lead. Even though you aren't drinking the water, it will be absorbed into vegetables.

Numerous companies sell the barrels and kits, but you can make your own if you're handy with a few simple tools. Here's a good video from wonderhowto to get you started:


  1. how can rainwater harvesting save my money? And is the gadgets affordable enough even for common people?

  2. Hi,
    Harvesting rainwater can save money for those who have large gardens or ornamentals and flower beds and have to pay a larger water bill. For those on water wells, like us, even though we don't have to pay for the water, we have to pay for the electricity to pumps it.

    As for afordability,one cost estimate is $1 for each gallon of storage. The biggest cost is the tank. The Jefferson County Master Gardeners built one out at the test garden. I'll check on the details and post it later.

  3. It is a very good idea since the water can be used for gardening and even car wash.

  4. Or bathing a dog who doesn't want to get in a bathtub!

  5. Great suggestion. Rain water collection is about more than just saving money. It also reduces your drain on water resources.