Rainwater Collection System

The rainwater collection system is comprised of one, 250-gallon tank, two 350-gallon tanks, one 1100-gallon tank, and three rain barrel collection stations. The tanks are all connected and drain downhill. Each tank can be opened and closed depending on how the water collection progresses. The whole system can be drained if necessary. Each of the tanks has a filter and is easy to clean.

A well pump powers three faucets that can be used on the front, side, and back areas of the yard. The whole system is connected to the sprinkler system and can adequately water all areas if tanks are full. The sprinkler system uses pop-up heads. There are five zones.

Hopefully in the future a drip system can be installed and more efficient use of the water will be made.

A great deal of water can be collected at the rain barrel stations by using the extra trash cans to catch the overflow from the rain barrel. I use a sump pump to empty these quickly and water with the hose. It is pretty efficient and much easier than using buckets. All the rain barrels were
acquired from Karen Alexander. When not in use, trashcans are stored so it does not look so messy.

This system is a work in progress. I hope to paint all the tanks and PVC pipe and use a wood lattice fencing to cover the highest tank in the back yard. I have planted vines to help cover the tanks. None of this system is visible from the street and all tanks are located in the back area of the lot.

If you interested in this, you are more than welcome to come and see it.

This is a picture, taken in January of 2008, shows the first tanks that were put in and the connections to the downspouts.

Here are two 350-gallon tanks that are located right across the chain link fence in the back of the house. They are connected to two downspouts on the corners of this part of the house.

This is the highest tank that holds approximately 250 gallons of water. It is connected to one of the downspouts. This tank drains to a larger tank when it is open or it can be closed to collect water when the other tanks are full.

This is the biggest tank that the other higher tank drains to. It holds 1100 gallons. I call her the Big Girl!! It is also located in the back yard.

To give an overview of the system, I have the rain barrels, trashcans, and the 350-gallon tank in the back yard and they drain down hill to the Big Girl!

Here is a photo of the rain barrel on the patio with overflow going to the trashcans (Give me a break- I think the trashcans give it an attractive but nice quirky look!). Usually these fill up after a single day’s rain. I have 3 stations like the one shown.

This is another one of the rain barrel stations on the front side of the house. None of these can be seen from the street.

This is the well pump that delivers water to the three faucets and the five-zone sprinkler system.

Benefits of a Rain Barrel

rain barrelRainwater harvesting is always beneficial, whether the water is used to water one houseplant or an entire garden. Also, the act of collecting rainwater can be an inspiration to other water conservation activities around the house.

When deciding on a rainwater harvesting system, you will want it to be as large as you can afford and your location will allow. Most homeowners use 55-gallon rain barrels. There are containers that are 300 gallons or less that are affordable and small enough to fit on most residential or  commercial lots.

The photograph shows Gwinnett Master Gardener Sue Shaw’s 55-gallon rain barrel that she installed at her home.

Although one 55-gallon rain barrel may not provide all the water needed to sustain your plant material, it can certainly supplement any rain we may or may not receive. Planter beds, vegetable or flower gardens and potted plants can easily be irrigated with the water from a rain barrel. Rain barrels can easily be linked together to increase your water storage.

The water savings from using stored rainwater rather than municipal or well water can be substantial over a period of time. A rain barrel can also help reduce the amount of water that may settle around the foundation of your home. Currently Gwinnett County offers a rebate on the imposed storm water fee if you have rain barrels installed at your house. You can visit their website for more information.

Last, but not least, with a rain barrel you are helping the environment by preventing excess water going to our storm drains and your plants are receiving chemical free water.