How to DIY a rainwater collection system

Your gorgeous rainwater collection barrels will be your best friend this summer and you can garden on happily during dry spells.

When it comes to maintaining a lush and thriving garden, one invaluable resource often falls from the sky, completely free of charge – rainwater. As the scorching days of summer loom ahead, it's high time to equip yourself with the knowledge and tools to create your very own rainwater collection system. In this step-by-step guide, we'll walk you through the process of setting up your DIY rainwater collection system, allowing you to conserve water, lower your bills, and contribute to a greener, more sustainable world.

Step 1: Gathering barrels

Ideally, you would want at least 2 or 3 large 200 to 300l barrels (like those blue ones we often see on the side of the road costing around R 300 a pop). Having multiple barrels means you will have reserved tanks and can store any overflow as well. If purchasing a secondhand barrel, be sure to check that it didn't contain oil, pesticides, or any other type of toxic substance. 

 

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Step 2: Collecting barrel accessories

The following supplies can be purchased at most hardware and home stores. These little accessories will make all the difference in the practicality and convenience of your rainwater set-up. The following items needed are per barrel. 

  • 1 hose spigot tap goodies so you can easily access water from the barrel.
  • 1 PVC pipe couplings and 3 PVC bushings to manage water pressure and secure pipe connections. 
  • 1 hose adapter
  • 4 metal washers per barrel (12 in total if you are working with 3 barrels) 
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Rainwater Collection, Rainwater Harvesting, Gardening, Water-wise Gardening, Sustainable Gardening, Xeriscaping, Drought-Tolerant Plants, Eco-friendly Landscaping, Water-saving DIY, Sustainable Living, Eco-friendly Home, Water Management, Water Conservation Tips, Community Sustainability, Neighborhood Sustainability
  • 1 roll of sealing tape
  • 1 tube of silicone caulk
  • 1 s-shaped aluminium downspout elbow to direct water from your downspout to the barrel
  • 1 piece of aluminium window screen to keep leaves, bugs, and other materials out of your water
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Rainwater Collection, Rainwater Harvesting, Gardening, Water-wise Gardening, Sustainable Gardening, Xeriscaping, Drought-Tolerant Plants, Eco-friendly Landscaping, Water-saving DIY, Sustainable Living, Eco-friendly Home, Water Management, Water Conservation Tips, Community Sustainability, Neighborhood Sustainability
  • A water leveler 
  • Drill
  • A few bags of gravel - optional 
  • 4-6 concrete blocks
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Rainwater Collection, Rainwater Harvesting, Gardening, Water-wise Gardening, Sustainable Gardening, Xeriscaping, Drought-Tolerant Plants, Eco-friendly Landscaping, Water-saving DIY, Sustainable Living, Eco-friendly Home, Water Management, Water Conservation Tips, Community Sustainability, Neighborhood Sustainability

Step 3: Level the barrel platform

Make sure that the area where you want to place the barrel(s) is levelled and has good access to the gutter downspout pipe.

Rainwater Collection

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The word is out – it’s going to be a hot summer gardeners! Rainwater collection is a smart, simple technique to green your home and lessen your environmental footprint, providing significant economic, social, and environmental benefits. Join Life is a Garden’s Water Warrior initiative as we explore ways to utilise every drop of our blue gold. 

 

Where and how can rainwater can be used?

1. Watering lawns, beds, and containers

Use rainwater in watering cans or attach the rainwater storage tank directly to an irrigation system.

2. Wildlife, pets, and livestock

You can use harvested rainwater to fill birdbaths and is typically safe for pets or livestock to drink or bath in as well. 

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3. Composting

Water is essential for proper decomposition of your compost heap. 

4. Rinsing veggies from the garden

A bucket of rainwater beside the veggie patch is a quick way to remove dirt from root veggies and other edibles. 

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5, Outdoor ponds and water features

Fill outdoor ponds, pools, and features with collected rainwater.

6, Drinking and cooking

Installing a filtration system, boiling or distilling the water will make it drinkable. 

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7. Bathing pets 

Connecting a hosepipe to a rainwater barrel or tank outside makes water access easy and eco-friendly. 

8. Laundry

Using eco-friendly washing detergents with clean harvested water is a big buck saver. 

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Rainwater Collection, Rainwater Harvesting, Gardening, Water-wise Gardening, Sustainable Gardening, Xeriscaping, Drought-Tolerant Plants, Eco-friendly Landscaping, Water-saving DIY, Sustainable Living, Eco-friendly Home, Water Management, Water Conservation Tips, Community Sustainability, Neighborhood Sustainability

9. Washing cars and outdoor goodies 

Washing outdoor items is an excellent use for untreated water. Wash cars, garden tools, lawnmowers, the driveway, and garden furniture.  

10. Flushing toilets

Toilets use almost 27% of water in your home. Simply use collected rainwater in a bucket and pour it into the top bowl of the toilet.

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Rainwater Collection, Rainwater Harvesting, Gardening, Water-wise Gardening, Sustainable Gardening, Xeriscaping, Drought-Tolerant Plants, Eco-friendly Landscaping, Water-saving DIY, Sustainable Living, Eco-friendly Home, Water Management, Water Conservation Tips, Community Sustainability, Neighborhood Sustainability

Embracing rainwater collection is not just a trend; it's a lifestyle choice that offers numerous economic, social, and environmental advantages. By joining the Water Warrior initiative, you're not only nurturing your garden but also contributing to a more sustainable and water-wise future.