Water that falls on a house or shed roof normally drains away from a property and enters storm sewers directly. Placing a diverter on your eaves trough downspout and collecting the rainwater in a rain barrel is a great way to capture that water.
According to a local gardener, a typical two-hour rain shower will provide enough water to fill a rain barrel a couple of times and allow you to use that water on flower or vegetable beds.
Where to buy
Rain barrels are available locally from most large hardware/household goods stores. Prices range from $60 to $200. Diverter kits cost extra and not all stores carry them.
Make your own
Find a 45-gallon food grade container, possibly from food manufacturers in a large center. Supply is variable and unpredictable. You will need materials to drill and install an overflow pipe near the top and a pipe and faucet at the bottom. These are available at local hardware stores and detailed instructions for building rain barrels can be found on the internet.
Whether purchased or home-made, you will need to follow some safety precautions:
- Ensure the rain barrel has a secure lid or netting to keep out mosquitoes, children and animals.
- Raise the barrel off the ground to allow water to flow out of the barrel to target areas or into a smaller container (i.e. watering can).
- Ensure your barrel is placed on a secure, stable base. A 45-gallon (200 litre) rain barrel full of water weighs 200 Kg or 440 pounds.