Rainwater Harvesting/Water Barrel
Catch water while it is raining to use on your landscape when it is not! Rainwater harvesting is the collection and storage of rain, usually from an impervious surface like a roof. Harvesting rain to use later can be helpful for efficient landscaping, but it can also be fun!
Catch up on rainwater harvesting basics like how to calculate how much water your roof will produce in a year, different types of rain barrels and cisterns, how to keep mosquitos out of your barrel, basic safety, and more!
Why Harvest Rainwater?
- Plants prefer rainwater to treated tap water!
- Use less treated water and save on water utility bills.
- Route stormwater where you want it and reduce flooding on your property.
- Reduce your carbon footprint by consuming less energy used to treat tap water.
- Protect our waterways by reducing stormwater runoff that can carry pollutants.
- Reduce demand on our community’s water supply.
- Keep the water that’s yours!
- Water your landscape plants, like flowers in beds or veggies in gardens.
- Water indoor and outdoor potted plants.
- Use for wildlife watering holes, like birdbaths and puddle drips.
NEVER DRINK RAINWATER!
BUILD YOUR OWN RAIN BARREL
Building your own rain barrel is easy! All you need is a food-safe container, a few supplies from the hardware store, and common household tools. Watch one of the videos below to see a step-by-step demonstration of how to build your own rain barrel.
After building your barrel, you can choose to decorate it by painting it or cover it if you like. After that, hook your home-made barrel up to a downspout or put it below a roof valley, and it is ready to go. Just make sure you close your spigot before that first rain!
Rainwater is the BEST water for plants and harvesting from a rainfall event is a great way to reduce the demand on our water supplies! One of the easiest ways to get started is with a 55-gallon rain barrel. Follow these simple steps to build, paint, and set up your rain barrel to start saving from a rainy day!
Follow along with the Tarrant County Master Gardeners (video below) as they build a barrel from scratch!
- 1 55-gallon food grade plastic drum
- A 6” tracing template and marker
- A yardstick and duct tape
- A shop towel or rag
- A drill with a small pilot bit
- A jigsaw with a blade for cutting plastic
- A drill with a 1 5/8” hole saw
- A plastic bulkhead with ¾” pipe threading
- A ¾” brass faucet
- Teflon tape
- Vinyl insect netting
- Clear Silicone caulking
Decorating Your Barrel
After you are done building your barrel, don’t forget to paint it or cover it to give it some personality! You can use spray paint or acrylic paint to add a design. Images of plants and pollinators blend in well. Just don’t forget to seal your masterpiece with a clear coat or a few! You can also cover your barrel with a variety of materials, like wood for an old fashioned look, or bamboo for something more natural.
Contrary to popular belief, rainwater harvesting is not illegal in Texas. However, check with your HOA before you install your barrel. They may have rules on where it can be placed or what it can look like. Generally, keeping it out of sight in the backyard is a safe bet.
Want more info? Download this DIY Rainwater Harvesting Brochure for more information.
For more details about creating a system and a rainwater harvesting calculator, check out Texas AgriLife’s webpage.